At a pre-CES press preview Tuesday night in New York, the CEA revealed its latest consumer research, culled just after the presidential election from Nov. 6 to 9, showing what Tim Herbert, senior director of market research, termed “unprecedented negative sentiment” about the economy. “Ninety percent of consumers say the economy is worse than at this time last year, up from 87 percent on Sept. 27 – the largest number in the 15 years CEA has conducted this survey,” he said.
But this dark cloud has a bit of a silver lining for CE products, the results show.
Herbert said additional findings show consumers planning in general to pull back on Q4 holiday spending, all told, including CE, with overall average holiday expenditures expected to be down 14 percent at $1,437 from $1,671 in 2007. “The lowest ever percentage of consumers say they’ll spend the same or more over the holiday season,” he said the poll revealed.
He added that while “spending will be reduced but not eliminated, allocation towards CE products, however, is growing.” Sixty-one percent say CE products are important to their lives, he added, and half the canvassed consumers said they planned on “cocooning” with CE products in lieu of partaking in more expensive recreational activities.
There is also what Steve Koenig, co-presenter of the survey results and the CEA’s director of industry analysis, called a “strong upgrade motivation” in the marketplace toward HDTV purchase as a gift – a result he pegged to children and grandchildren wanting to prep their elders for the upcoming DTV transition. “TV has had a remarkable 2008,” said Koenig, citing sales figures through early October that showed growth of nearly 50 percent over the same period in 2007.
Herbert also presented consumer responses to questions about their intended spending behavior for the upcoming Black Friday Thanksgiving weekend period. He said 87 percent of women and 81 percent of men were planning to “ramp up their bargain-seeking behaviors” for the stretch, and 28 percent overall of consumers surveyed planned to shop for gifts then.