CEA Forecasts Soft Holiday Sales Season

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Going into the holiday season, the consumer electronics industry remains soft, and much of the revenue will come from only four sectors, according to the Consumer Electronics Association.

According to the CEA's "2013 United States Industry Consumer Electronic Forecast," product sales revenue is expected to decline 7.7% for 2009 (in line with earlier estimates) -- not only because of the economy, but also because average selling prices have declined over the same period.

Home information technologies, television displays, electronic gaming and portable communications will account for about two-thirds of overall CE revenue during the year, with only electronic gaming expected to see a revenue increase (although announced price drops for some consoles could slow even those gains).

Unit sales for televisions are expected to increase 14% in 2009, but the average selling price is expected to decline 17% to $288, according to the CEA. Revenue from home information technologies (such as computers and peripherals) will decline 21%, even as consumers opted to buy more laptops than desktops (67% of buyers will buy laptops in 2009, compared with 63% in 2008, according to the CEA).

As consumer spending is expected to remain soft through the holiday season, there are some places where consumers have shown continued interest within consumer electronics. As of Sept. 4, sales of camcorders are up nearly 27%, DVD players (including Blu-Ray players) are up 12% and digital television sales are up 28%.

In a similar vein, research from Parks Associates shows that nearly half of consumers with broadband Internet did not buy any consumer electronics purchases in the first half of 2009. Of those who did buy CE products, the most popular purchases were desktops, laptops and LCD flat-screen televisions. About 5% of households making purchases bought small netbook computers, and intent to purchase remains high through the holiday season, according to the company.

"In general, U.S. consumers who are buying are taking longer to do so, spending more time researching the product, and then waiting for the right time -- meaning a sale or steep discount -- to make the purchase," Parks said in a statement.

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