Hans Carpels, President, Euronics International

Challenges
I see a slowdown in product creativity from manufacturers. When was the last time that a total new product was launched? The tablet: after 6 years this market has shrunk dramatically. Apart from the SDA category where many new products are launched, I do not see many new devices coming in CE, Telecoms or IT. Upgrades certainly, but novelties are rare. This of course affects the business model where fewer players will be around (both in manufacturing as in retailing/distribution). This evolution is the reason why many retailers are looking to possible adjacent business fields (IOT, health, etc.).

Opportunities
The transparency of pricing has created more or less a level playing field: the difference is rarely made on price anymore. This means that there are many opportunities to differentiate for inventive retailers and manufacturers, but one thing is sure: the customer will decide whether the differentiation is to his or her liking.

The path to change
Most human beings prefer to adapt only modestly when they are confronted with a new environment. One rarely adapts enough but let’s be clear: for the years to come, adaptation will be our duty.

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