CEA: Economy down, TV sales up

Despite widespread financial woes, sales of flat-panel TVs and game hardware should do fine during the holidays, the Consumer Electronics Association says during an industry Webcast.

Sales in a couple of key gadget categories will rise despite the economic downturn, the Consumer Electronics Association predicted Tuesday--and no, CEA wasn't talking about calculators and sawed-off shotguns.

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During an industry Webcast titled "Economy in crisis: How we got here, where do we go from here and what does it mean for consumer electronics and your business," the CEA said flat-panel TVs and gaming hardware should do well during the upcoming holiday season even as consumers rein in their dollars amid the current financial uncertainty.

Maybe a shiny new monitor could help take our worried minds off terms like "credit default swap." Or more possibly, the CEA suggested, many people will be waiting out the crisis at home rather than traveling or spending money on nights out.

"Consumer electronics is holding up well," said CEA analyst Sean DuBravac, who delivered the CEA's preliminary holiday projections in terms of units, as opposed to revenues. "We're pretty confident that technology will outperform overall retail."

Disclaimer: We at Crave did not watch the Webcast, as (excuse No. 1) former House Speaker Newt Gingrich stopped by CNET's San Francisco headquarters Tuesday to talk technology, politics, and Silicon Valley. (Watch for the video Wednesday morning.) But we were most interested in the Webcast results as reported by AFP and Beta News.

A few of CEA's more eye-catching points, according to those two sources:

• Holiday sales will likely increase 4.7 percent for flat-panel TVs and other A/V equipment, and 3.5 percent for gaming hardware.

• Sales of game machines will likely reach 17.1 million units during the holidays. Sales of consoles will go down, but sales of less costly portable game machines will go up.

• While consumers are displaying caution when it comes to "discretionary spending," many consumers don't necessarily see money spent on gadgets as falling under the "discretionary" rubric.

• Consumers are spending less on buying new cars, citing rising fuel prices as one big reason why.

About the author

Leslie Katz, Crave's senior editor, heads up a team that covers the most crushworthy (and wackiest) tech, science, and culture around. As a co-host of the now-retired CNET News Daily Podcast, she was sometimes known to channel Terry Gross and still uses her trained "podcast voice" to bully the speech recognition software on automated customer service lines. E-mail Leslie.

 

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