Could Harman’s Distribution Shift in the APAC Region Foreshadow the Company’s Future?

Harman Professional has long been either a direct-to-dealer set of brands or has distributed each of its 14 lines through market appropriate distributors — pro audio through pro audio distributors, pro video through high-end video distributors, and so on.

But, last week, in the APAC (Asia-Pacific) region, Harman seemed to consolidate distribution from nearly a dozen companies down to two.

Could this be the future or Harman?

Harman Professional, at least, has spent the better part of 2017 laying off people (650+ since early summer) or closing direct offices — nearly every Harman office was closed in the EMEA (Europe, the Middle East and Africa) region this past fall. And, some countries where Harman used to deal directly with dealers have transitioned to distribution.

Is Harman going to move all of their product through distribution in the future? It certainly appears that way.

Harman’s brands a big-time names and if Samsung, Harman’s parent company, is smart, they’ll cultivate them carefully. It’s clear that laying off 650 or so people means that they plan to work leaner and the company has already made it clear that they are focusing on the focus on the infotainment and automotive sectors — thus, ProAV is taking a backseat to consumer brands.

Thus, ramping up relationships with a few key distributors in the world’s major regions is highly likely as their future “go-to-market” strategy for new products. But, doing so, still requires technically competent support — many distributors are great at supplying AV gear but not great a support its, technically. It will be interesting to watch but, for now, many of the professional Harman brands are suffering a sales slowdown. And, some are rumored to be for sale.

What have you noticed with Harman brands — what are you experiencing? We want to know!