Soundbites 2014: Creative Labs calls IT channel home

Welcome to our ongoing Soundbites series, which takes an in-depth look at the Australian audio market, finding out what the leading brands and suppliers are up to and looking at the best new products available.

(Part I: Yamaha)
(Part II: Parrot)
(Part III: Convoy International)
(Part IV: Sennheiser)
(Part V: Directed)
(Part VI: Apple & Beats special edition)
(Part VII: Amber & Urbanears)

While researching the state of the mp3 market in Australia it appeared as though Creative Labs had all but disappeared from the Australian market, despite an impressive product offering of consumer electronics such as headphones, speakers and mp3 players displayed on its website.

Sound Blaster EVO ZxR

Sound Blaster EVO ZxR

Creative is still very much active in the Australian market, Australian country manager Lorant Corba told Appliance Retailer. However, its efforts are now focused on the IT reseller channel rather than with consumer electronics retailers.

Today, Creative sells Bluetooth speakers, such as the Creative D80 and D100 through Big W, but its key products — sound cards, PC speakers, webcams and gaming headsets — are distributed by Altech Computers and All Interactive Entertainment, through the IT reseller channel. These are sold in technology stores such as MSY Technology, Scorpion Technology and PC Case Gear.

In 2009, Creative announced it was restructuring its Australian operations by consolidating the local branch into the Singapore regional office.

At the time Creative Labs country manager, ANZ, Bernard Koh said:

“Like most businesses today, we have been monitoring and analysing the market situation closely and have taken steps in advance to streamline our sales distribution model to better compete in the market.

“We believe that by changing our business model flexibly, we will better serve our customers and partners.”

In the same year, Creative stopped marketing its MP3 players in Australia. The shift into more IT based products explains the move into the IT channel, Corba said.

It is also a nod to the brand’s heritage and its strengths; Creative was founded in Singapore in 1981 “with the vision that multimedia would revolutionise the way people interact with their PCs”.

The hero products from Creative that are distributed in Australia include the Creative T4 Wireless Speaker with NFC  and the Creative T30 Wireless Speakers with NFC.

Creative T30 Wireless Speakers

Creative T30 Wireless Speakers

For the gaming crowd Creative imports the Sound Blaster EVO ZxR wireless Bluetooth headset (pictured above) which works with PS4 and the Sound Blaster Zx which is a high performance PCIe gaming sound card.

Sound Blaster Zx

Sound Blaster Zx

Creative also sells products on its website which are shipped to Australia.  When asked if this was a more efficient way to sell its products, Corba said it wasn’t necessarily more efficient, but just a way to offer a wider range of products to consumers that might not be available in Australia market otherwise.

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