Holiday season may be merry for electronics bargain hunters

The consumer-electronics industry is expected to make steep price cuts for the holidays to help drive sales, according to IHS iSuppli. That means a 42-inch HD TV could cost less than $200.

Shara Tibken Former managing editor
Shara Tibken was a managing editor at CNET News, overseeing a team covering tech policy, EU tech, mobile and the digital divide. She previously covered mobile as a senior reporter at CNET and also wrote for Dow Jones Newswires and The Wall Street Journal. Shara is a native Midwesterner who still prefers "pop" over "soda."
Shara Tibken
2 min read
TVs, like this one from Sharp, may be pretty cheap this holiday season, according to IHS iSuppli. Sharp
It may be a very merry holiday season for consumers seeking big bargains on electronics.

IHS iSuppli, a market research firm, says consumer-electronics companies will likely make "extremely steep" price cuts to attract buyers during the key holiday selling season.

That means the consumer-electronics industry is going to post only "scant" 1.3 percent revenue growth this year, according to IHS, but consumers may be getting some pretty great deals.

Buyers have largely been cautious with spending because of worries about the weak global economy, but companies are hoping attractive prices will help boost demand.

Here's what IHS analyst Jordan Selburn had to say:

Amid weak economic conditions, along with a lack of compelling new products, electronics brands have little choice but to slash prices to gain the attention of buyers. While consumer-electronics brands and retailers always offer bargains for Black Friday, this year is likely to bring extremely steep price declines. The result is marginal growth in revenue for consumer-electronics manufacturers in 2012.

He added that in 2012 the consumer-electronics industry generally focused on "optimization" -- aka, creating bargains -- as opposed to innovation. As a result, companies have focused on improving their current offerings by making them smaller, more power efficient, and cheaper, rather than creating totally new products or adding major features.

Some of the areas expected to show revenue growth are LCD TVs, digital set-top boxes, and consumer appliances. Most other areas -- like plasma TVs, video game consoles, digital cameras, and e-book readers -- are likely to decline.

It's not going to be a very merry holiday season for the consumer-electronics industry. IHS iSuppli
If you're a bargain hunter this holiday season, here are some of the Black Friday deals IHS says could be on the way:

• 42-inch 1,080-pixel LCD TVs priced at less than $200, less than half their present $500 pricing for name-brand sets

• 55-inch LCD TVs -- with 3D! -- for about $800 or less, well down from the $1,400 range they're at currently

• Blu-ray players for less than $40, a discount from the $65 pricing now

"At those price points, Blu-ray players and even 42-inch televisions almost fall into impulse-buy territory for some consumers," Selburn said. "These are the kinds of deals that will get shoppers out on Black Friday."

Global consumer-electronics original equipment manufacturer factory revenue should expand a "scant" 1.3 percent this year to $361 billion, according to IHS iSuppli. For the fourth quarter, the key holiday selling season, revenue should rise 2.2 percent.

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