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Holidays appear bright for electronics

Consumer electronics makers should have a happy holiday ahead, according to a report that shows strong spending for digital cameras and DVD players.

Consumer electronics makers should have a happy holiday ahead, according to a new report from market researcher NPD Intelect that shows particularly strong spending increases for digital cameras and DVD players.

The report compares retail sales from Nov. 18 to Nov. 24 with the sales during Thanksgiving week last year. Thanksgiving week sales are considered the prime indicator for the entire holiday shopping season.

Sales were up in most consumer electronics categories. They were also higher in select areas of the computer-related business. Sales of digital cameras increased 40 percent from a year ago, and handheld computer sales were up 30.7 percent. Also showing growth were PC displays, up 18 percent thanks to a boom in sales of LCDs (liquid-crystal displays). And sales of ink cartridges were up 19.3 percent as consumers do more photo printing at home.

However, desktop and notebook PC sales were down with declines of 8.6 and 10.9 percent, respectively. Printer sales also dropped 5.7 percent.

"When examining specific product groupings, it is apparent that every winning category had a close relative that was a loser," NPD analyst Steve Baker said in a statement. "LCD monitors are selling well, but (traditional) PC monitors aren't. People are being more selective about their purchasing."

The news was more uniformly cheery on the consumer electronics side, with sales of DVD players up 53.1 percent and wireless phone sales up 29.6 percent. Sales of digital video recorders, such as those from TiVo and Sonicblue's ReplayTV, were up 9.1 percent.

"The products that are selling well are those that are fulfilling immediate 'needs' for entertainment and information," NPD analyst Tom Edwards said in the statement.