Electronics Top Early Christmas Shopping Lists

Dec 18, 2003
George Anderson

By George Anderson

While many consumers are waiting out retailers for even better deals on gifts for this holiday season, one category of products, consumer electronics, has defied the late-buying
trend as shoppers look to grab up the hottest technology before stores run out of stock.

The early demand for consumer electronics has gotten a big assist from low-ball prices in a number of product segments.

Competition for the consumer electronics market has become fierce and retailers are dropping prices in search of a competitive, albeit short-lived, advantage. Lorrie Grant in
USA Today reports prices “as low as $29 on DVD players and below $500 on desktop PCs.”

The speed at which the latest technology becomes a commodity has accelerated as discount stores such as Wal-Mart gain traction in the retail marketplace for consumer electronics.

Stacey Widlitz, retail analyst at Fulcrum Global Partners observes, “Discounters are getting (the latest technology) faster.”

Moderator’s Comment: What will the commoditization of the category mean for specialty retailers such as CompUSA or Best Buy?

Neil Stern at McMillan/Doolittle Retail Consultants was quoted in the USA Today article as saying, “I can buy a computer or DVD player now like I’m
buying a box of Cheerios. What becomes critical is new product introduction and new technology introduction where there will still be a premium placed on the product and expertise.”

Anderson – Moderator

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