Retail's Best Selling High Tech Products

Brands that have longevity and an established place outsell their market. And they build up brand equity.

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'Why Volume Matters'

The best-selling products of 2008 were characterized by a couple of important attributes that remind us that volume really does matter. Volume provides the scale for a brand to branch out into adjacent categories and items, and to raise its visibility among retailers. Volume provides the retailer with the customer base to be successful, and volume provides the consumer with great pricing and selection.

Those traits are apparent in some of the best-selling SKUs. The strength of PNY across multiple categories, for example, shows how a brand can leverage volume opportunities from some categories into adjacent ones. PNY had the best-selling RAM SKU and the best-selling video card at retail brick-and-mortar stores in 2008. It was also a leading provider of memory cards and USB drives, categories that allowed PNY to leverage brand familiarity. Logitech, too, shows strength across multiple product categories, delivering market-leading performance in keyboards, speakers and Web cameras. Why Volume Matters

Leveraging the strength of a product or brand in one channel does not often translate across channels. For example, of the 22 categories NPD and Everything Channel looked at, in only five instances was the best-selling item the top seller in brick-and-mortar and e-tail. Flip Digital and its F260 camera is a great example of a relatively new product, in an emerging category, where the same item was No. 1 in both channel segments. Kodak's digital frame, the EasyShare P720, captures the best-seller mantle across retail and e-tail.

And price is not the sole driver of consumer purchases: Only nine best-selling products were also the lowest-priced items in the top 10. In two instances, the winner was actually the highest-priced SKU, proving that consumers buy against needs, not on price alone. Looking, then, from a macro level, we can see that what makes a best-seller is a combination of attributes from brand, channel, feature and price. And delivering on the right combination of those considerations is when volume truly matters.

—Stephen Baker is Vice President, Industry Analysis, at NPD Group

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