Declan Ronayne (pictured) is general manager of DSG Retail, overseeing the Dixons, Currys and PC World chain of stores in Ireland.
What technology buying trends are you seeing with Irish consumers today?
Technology is moving very fast and consumers have no problem moving as fast. People are embracing new technology and with gusto. In terms of trends the big one right now is flat-panel TV. The CRT (cathode ray tube) TV is effectively dead. We don’t sell them in Dixons anymore and we have a limited range in Currys. We got rid of the CRT TV because people are no longer interested. Flat-panel TV would have a penetration of 4pc of homes and that will top 10pc and beyond.
This summer high-definition TV (HDTV) is making its intro. How are you preparing for this?
The big drivers behind HDTV this summer in Ireland will be the World Cup and the Ryder Cup. Sky has started to launch HDTV here. My experience of comparing TV as we know it with HDTV is that it is effectively the difference between black and white and colour. My prediction? Once people see it they’ll want it. Our challenge is getting staff teed up on HDTV. We are always briefing staff members on the latest developments so they can get that across to customers and help them make decisions.
Despite a large PC industry here, not enough Irish homes have computers or broadband. How should this be tackled?
A PC in every family home with broadband access should be a national goal. Our policy is to get the price of a well-specced PC down to €379 and that really gets into the realm of affordable computing. Laptops now are below €500. Irish buyers still like their brands and want high-performance products. People want a Centrino laptop by a well-known brand with 256MB graphics. Demand for digital cameras is also strong. Irish consumers are very tech savvy.
By John Kennedy