Friday, December 18, 2009

'Tis the Season for Consumer Electronics

With Christmas just a week away, retail analysts have identified one sector of the market that is emerging as the star of the Christmas shopping season: consumer electronics. According to the Consumer Electronics Association, 80 percent of adults say they intend to purchase some type of technology as a gift this year, the highest figure in the 16 years the organization has tracked holiday shopping patterns.

In particular, Best Buy® (the country's dominant electronics vendor) and other retailers like Walmart®, who increased their electronic sales when Circuit City® went out of business earlier this year, are benefiting from the trend. Computers, high definition TVs, DVDs, Blu-ray players, digital cameras, video games, handheld media players and cell phones are flying off the shelves.

Retail expert Brit Beemer from America's Research Group says that electronics have virtually tied toys as the top Christmas-gift item for the first time in more than 25 years. In a survey conducted last weekend, 30 percent of consumers cited electronics when asked what kind of gift they were buying most often. Toys were mentioned by 30.8 percent of respondents. Last year, only 23.7 percent answered this question with electronics.

The main reason for the jump in consumer electronics sales seems to be price. According to the NPD Group, a market-research firm, the average LCD TV price was down 22 percent on Black Friday. Notebook-computer prices dropped 26 percent. Netbooks, the lighter, more portable cousin to traditional laptop computers, also saw a drop in price. Camcorder prices fell 33 percent. Most of these deals have extended beyond Black Friday or have been re-offered starting this week. [Yahoo! News]

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