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How 3SIXT became a $250m consumer electronics success

By Sean Mitchell
Mon 6 Apr 2020
FYI, this story is more than a year old

Cellnet is a sizeable Australian share listed technology distribution business.

They distributor a lot of different technology products with a particular focus on telecommunications products.

In 2013 as part of a much bigger rethink of their entire business, they looked at their house brands. Cellnet distributed well-known leading brands, but they had a thriving business in house-branded products. Sort of like supermarkets selling their own branded bread.

A bunch of these house brands had been created. After the review in 2013, the decision was made to bring all these house brands together.

They choose 3SIXT, which was a brand created in their Cellnet New Zealand distribution business.

3SIXT had initially been focused on the action camera segment, competing with GoPro. As all the house brands folded into it, the brand expanded into a bunch of different categories.

The principal categories now include device cases, screen protection, power adapters, cabling, docks, headphones, speakers and even power banks. The product range has over 200 products in it now.

GFK who tracks retail sales of consumer electronics shows quite impressive numbers in many categories with the audio side including headphones and speakers very strong.

About six months ago, they acquired PowerGuard, which is the well-recognised brand of power protection that is exclusively sold in Harvey Norman stores.

New power protection products are planned under the 3SIXT brand in the future.

The team have also been working on sustainability, with a conscious decision to move to all cardboard packaging about 12 months ago.

“Our team is passionate about reducing our use of plastic packaging. Most people don’t realise that it costs us more to remove the plastic from our packaging and focus on cardboard. Although we see this as a valuable investment.” says Craig Kingshott, Managing Director, 3SIXTgear

The 3SIXT brand is also pioneering the use of device cases made of fully sustainable materials. These have been launched under the BioFleck brand and are 100% compostable and biodegradable.

“The important thing for consumers to realise is that these are very resilient products which protect your devices really well. There is no compromise on protection,” says Kingshott.

The company launched the first range nine months ago, with the second range out now and plans underway for new colours including a much anticipated transparent case. As you can imagine being biodegradable and transparent isn’t an easy feat to pull off

“The response to BioFleck has been brilliant, with both consumers and retailers wanting the option,” says Kingshott.

Another area that 3SIXT is investing is in new battery technologies, including both GAN and Graphine based batteries. These are promising new field of battery technology that could offer smaller, more powerful and even safer batteries.

Lastly, innovation is happening in an area of their product range few thought could be innovated in; Screen protectors.

Often screen protectors are either a rubbery plastic film or made of glass. The film is flexible, which is useful when bending around the curved edges of a new phone, while the glass offers better protection but can eventually break.

The new range of 3SIXT PrismShield products just launched a few weeks ago. They incorporate a new hybrid technology that has both the flexibility of film and the toughness of glass.

See the new products here.

They are so sure about this new technology that they are guaranteeing the consumer to replace their screen if damaged in the first 24 months of using the screen protector. Terms and conditions apply that need to be understood when purchasing.

Kingshott and the 3SIXT team are putting a lot of time and money into innovation. The new screen protection technology is available now, while new power bank and power surge protection products are not far away.

Today the 3SIXT range has over 30,000 pegs across Australia and New Zealand. Peg’s are the name given to each shelf space in a mass retailers store. These are highly sought after for manufacturers like 3SIXT.

Who knew that 3SIXT could grow to sell over 6 million products in 30 countries and to have generated over AUD $250 million in retail sales. What a success story!

See the full range here.

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