While a year ago, HTSA members, and the rest of the world, were concerned about how the pandemic would affect our lives, today, the buying group’s management rallies its members to stay “Ahead of the Curve”—the mantra for its Spring 2021 Virtual Meeting.

Jon Robbins, HTSA’s executive director, reflected in his State of the Union address: “Who knew our industry would benefit a year later?” he asked. He described his feelings as “proud and happy,” while reporting that HTSA members had a 17.5 percent increase in vendor purchases, which is up 22 percent from Jan/Feb of 2020.

The group also brought on new members, including:

  • Acoustic Design Systems, Las Vegas
  • Aspire Audio Video Solutions, Charleston, SC
  • Electronic Concepts, Rochelle Park, NJ
  • Ratio AV, Farmington, UT

New vendor partners include:

  • aboutGOLF
  • Apex Technologies
  • Penn Elcom

While many questions remain for the remainder of 2021, there is much to be optimistic about, says Robbins. He believes that real estate is “hot,” and homeowners are looking for more technologically advanced homes, both in new construction and updates to existing homes.

“We feel consumers have a new appreciation for the need for quality tech in homes after [living through the pandemic of] 2020.

To get a clear understanding of each member’s business outlook, HTSA queried 40 members in four different sections of the country: Northeast, Central, Southern and Western. Members in each region reported average gross revenue increases of 13 percent, 15 percent, 14 percent and 13 percent for the months April, May, June and July, respectively.

Additionally, HTSA members have seen growth in specific categories, particularly, lighting fixtures sales and lighting design services. Another uptick was seen in categories, including tunable/HCL Lighting and enterprise-grade networking solutions. Additionally, Robbins is optimistic about adding golf simulator vendor aboutGOLF, which he believes will help legacy business.

Staying Ahead of the Curve

The theme of this spring’s show: “Ahead of the Curve,” depicts the group’s attitude for moving forward. Dedicated to continued education, 190 courses have been added to the “vault,” the organization’s training and information portal. Members are also encouraged to take advantage of the Planning Tool for producing budgets as well as the member-produced home tech and lifestyle guide as a resource.

Keith Esterly, HTSA’s chief learning architect, used the show’s theme to explain that curves in business are always moving. Looking for new and exciting ways to grow your business before efforts become stagnant is the way to go. 

The Sigmoid Curve, Esterly outlined, includes three phases: Learning, Growth and Decline. While the learning phase is difficult, the “potential is massive,” Esterly explains. “You need to be patient” because when you get to the growth stage, the “gain outweighs the pain.” Before you get to the decline phase, he suggests searching for a “new change effort,” so the decline stage is actually removed. The goal is to repeatedly learn and grow.

Robbins also noted that management will be reaching out to each member in an effort he is calling: “The Great Spring/Summer 2021 Tom Doherty [HTSA director of special projects] & Jon Robbins Member Reach Out.” The purpose is to “make sure they are maximizing HTSA resources.” He emphasized that they will “reach every member in the group for one-on-one meetings over the next few months to take deep dives into each individual member’s purchasing patterns.”

Concluding his address, Robbins noted, “A year ago, we faced what could have been the greatest business challenge of our lifetime. Now, we find ourselves in a solid position to grow. It has been a long year, but we are excited as things move forward.”