When Jamie Cox looks into his crystal ball he sees a bright future for peripherals.
As managing director of Digital Blue, Cox is responsible for a large part of the tech-specific peripheral market in New Zealand and the local company is also making it big overseas. Digital Blue’s profits were up 150% from last year.
“Our largest market is probably in Australia, although percentage-wise New Zealand is a good market, in some cases even a little better.”
Cox sees a moving trend in the market, with more focus on the mobile phone industry and the convergence between cellular technology and MP3 players. He says iPods and similar products will face most of their competition from mobile phones in the future.
“Most of our products are based around audio and multimedia, especially within the MP3-player market, and we see consumers looking for a single device to cover these needs.”
Digital Blue has added two new product ranges to its stable, Jabra — Bluetooth hands-free tech-
nology and Rivet, which specialises in mobile phone accessories.
At the height of iPod sales, Cox estimates that consumers spent close to 80% of the iPod retail price on accessories. In contrast, when it comes to mobile phones, he predicts people spend closer to 50% of the retail price on peripherals.
“As the economy slows down, people will spend less on accessories,” says Cox. However, he is not worried about a possible recession, as the company also deals in home-security devices such as motion sensors and cameras. If there is a drop in the economy, these products are likely to become more popular.
“We can take these products and tweak them for the New Zealand market. We can customise the product because the consumer requirements differ from the US and here. Through any economic depression, if you have the right people and the right products, you will survive.”
Cox says his company is also looking into gaming peripherals, although the sale of the Sony PSP has so far been a little slow.
“For most consumers, the PSP is probably a little bit pricey. We expect that when the price drops, the average spending on peripherals will rise accordingly.”
The company was looking into Xbox 360 peripherals, but Cox says they are anticipating more from PS3 peripherals sales when the console is released on the market.
“Everyone has a steering wheel, hand controllers and memory cards for these consoles. We look into more unique and different products, where the margin is higher. By offering these products we set ourselves aside from the others.”
Being a small company, it is easier for Digital Blue to follow trends, says Cox, as it can move quicker than many larger organisations. “We can look at blogs and other forms of public opinion to gain an idea of what the consumers want and what ideas they have for products.”
Digital Blue is moving into new offices combined with a warehouse in a month or so, taking the business as well as Cox’s dog along.
“This means I’ll probably have to buy a fluoro vest for the dog so it doesn’t get run over by forklifts.”