Everyone knows Monoprice as the go-to shop for their inexpensive HDMI cables. Monoprice has grown tremendously in the last few years and they are known as the go-to place for all AV accessories. Now Monoprice will be entering a new market; they will be selling big-ticket electronics under the Monoprice name.
Who is Monoprice and how did they get here?
Founded in 2002 and propelled by word-of-mouth support — the company rarely advertises — Monoprice is now a $120m-a-year business. Monoprice CEO Ajay Kumar says the company has been growing at between 25% and 35% a year for the last five years. The office and shipping operations run out of a 173,000 square-foot warehouse in Rancho Cucamonga, California.
In the early days of HD, HDMI cable markup was extremely high — it was easy to get talked into a $50 cable, and countless TV buyers spent untold millions on "premium" HDMI wires, making Monster one of the most recognizable electronics brands of the 2000s. In the beginning, the fact that these pricey cables weren't actually any better was regarded as a dirty industry secret. Monoprice made sure it was in a perfect position to catch people as this "secret" gradually became conventional wisdom.
Since the success of Monoprice’s HDMI cables, they have expanded their product line-up to a whole array of products from home theater and IT accessories. Monoprice is well aware of the market’s financial situation and tries to stray away from the low margin products such as computers, smartphones and printers. Big box stores still make a great deal of money from highly marked up cables which are slipped alongside a TV purchase.
So why the flat panel market?
Monoprice saw an opening in high-end monitors. In June and July, a flurry of forum activity and gadget blog posts flagged some curiously cheap Korean monitors. These variously branded 27-inch hi-res IPS displays undercut similarly specced hardware from name brands by up to 75%, but were only available mostly on eBay and in limited quantities. Reviewers confirmed: They were legit.
"We definitely noticed those write-ups out there, and we'd seen other people selling monitors to eBay," says Kumar. "We had discussions with a number of different contract manufacturers in Asia, they sent us samples, we tested out those samples, and they performed great."
Monoprice gained a new product line, buyers gained a warranty and a return policy. And with that, Monoprice had seeped into another crevice in the increasingly fragmented hardware word.”
Kumar has even considered selling Monoprice hardware at retail if the conditions were right.
If it's something that would help generate a value to an end customer," he says, "we would consider it." And whether online or off, it's not hard to imagine a near-future scenario where Monoprice has become a real hardware player. Few noticed as budget brands like Vizio, Dynex, and most recently Hisense crept onto store shelves, undercutting established brands and slowly dominating floor space.
Monoprice is also well known for their great level of service they offer their customers. With branded Monoprice flat panels on the horizon offering both a warranty and low price, will you consider them on your next “TV to buy” list? Or will simply disregard them and stick to major brand name flat panel manufacturers?Source