2010 saw an increase in the number of telephone on-hold digital units sold by Watt Media, the first time in three years that we’ve seen such a trend. Digital player sales increased each year since our inception in 1998, until 2008 when the economy started heading downward and sales in general began to stagnate. In the three years that followed, sales of digital units flattened, with a gradual decline each year. Then, in 2010, amazingly, sales of these digital units increased! How do I explain this turn of events?
I think the biggest reason is, oddly enough, the advent of iPods and mp3 players and the concept that their ubiquity over the past few years has actually made it easier to sell digital players. How so? Several years ago, the digital player sale’s biggest enemy was the portable CD player. We found ourselves trying to convince prospects that a digital player is better than the alternative, a “boom-box” portable CD player. Since a boom-box was $50 or less, it was often a difficult sale. Clients could pick up a boom box for very little and figured they could simply get another one if it broke or wore out.
Now, the alternative is no longer a boom box, since these portable CD players have become somewhat passé, but instead the alternative to a digital unit is now an mp3 player or iPod. Since an iPod costs almost as much as a digital player, it just makes more sense to get the digital unit, which is made specifically for on-hold message purposes. A cheap mp3 player won’t sound good and will not be able to repeat continuously for long periods of time, so isn’t even a plausible choice for on-hold purposes.
A second reason for the increase in digital player sales is the general upturn in the economy we’ve seen over the past year. 2010 saw an overall increase in revenue for Watt Media in all areas, one of which is these digital players. (Watt Media offers Messager USB units, which use a USB “thumb” drive onto which the on-hold recording is uploaded) Here’s hoping this trend continues!