October 31, 2008
| by Richard M. Sherwin
Costco, BJs and selected Sam’s Clubs have knocked another $100-$300 off of many new desktop and laptops.
Almost every consumer survey and poling company is predicting a steep downturn in major CE and appliance sales this holiday season, and nearly all of these services do agree that customers will still shop but probably purchase fewer products or products that can entertain or serve the entire family. “This actually might be a boon to the video game hardware and software makers and especially the reasonably priced Wii,” says Wanger.
“Consumers are cutting back spending across the board. While growth for consumer electronics will not be as high as in years past, consumer electronics should outpace other consumer categories that are seeing significant deterioration,” says Shawn DuBravac, CEA Economist. “Our research finds that 80 percent of consumers buy at least one technology product each and every year.”
Circuit City struggling to survive what has been its worst performance in years also pre-empted its usual post Thanksgiving bonanza and already marked down home theater in a box packages from Sony and Panasonic and high-end audio components from Onkyo up to 40-percent on some name brands.
While officials from Circuit City would not comment on specific Black Friday plans, local Circuit City managers interviewed by Electronic House, believe there could be even more price drops on that Friday. “This is the lowest some of these TVs have sold for this year, so we might be giving them away if we are asked to really have our traditional Thanksgiving sale,” says one Circuit City manager in northwest Connecticut.
“We won’t tell you what other specials, we’ll have for Friday after Thanksgiving,” says a spokesman for Best Buy. “But whether the economy is good or bad,” we always have an exciting Friday after the holiday.”
Irwin Kellner, senior economist with Market Watch said yesterday on public radio that he expects this to be a rocky shopping season. “Sales and promotions may be commensurate with Wall Street’s ups and downs.”
Richard Sherwin is a former syndicated technology columnist and TV/Radio analyst, who has also been a marketing executive with IBM, Philips, NBC and a chief advisor to several manufacturers and service providers.