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11/25/2008
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Holiday Consumer Electronics Sales Expected To Take A Big Hit

While consumers planned to stay loyal to their favorite brand, they expected to buy less expensive models, a survey by the NPD Group found.

Consumers left jittery as a result of the economic downturn are rethinking plans for buying big-ticket consumer electronics products, a market research firm said Monday.

Also, more than half of the people planning to take advantage of Black Friday sales are more interested in deals on specific products rather than just overall bargains, the NPD Group said. Black Friday is the day after Thanksgiving and accounts for roughly 10% of retailers' holiday sales.

"The extraordinary economic turmoil we have seen will have a tremendous impact this season as consumers have said that they will probably or definitely hold off on products that have grossed the highest revenue over the last several holiday seasons," NPD analyst Ross Rubin said in a statement.

For example, in a survey of more than 800 adults in the last week of October, NPD found that of the 23% who were considering buying flat-panel TVs 40 inches or bigger, a third said the bad economy has convinced them to cancel the purchase.

Of the 12% of respondents who had high-end digital cameras on their shopping lists, a quarter said they probably won't go ahead with the purchase. While consumers planned to stay loyal to their favorite brand, they expected to buy less-expensive models.

When it comes to digital picture frames and MP3 players, shoppers were less interested in brand, and said they would look for the least-expensive models.

NPD last month reported that the number of people expecting to spend less this holiday season than last has increased significantly, a trend likely to lead to flat or declining sales this year.

Meanwhile, industry observers say they expect more Cyber Monday promotions than ever this year, as retailers look to the Web to boost the slump in sales expected in retail stores. Cyber Monday is the Monday following the long Thanksgiving holiday weekend.

Shop.org, the National Retail Federation's digital division, reported that 83.7% of Internet retailers surveyed plan special promotions for the Monday after Thanksgiving. That's up from 72.2% last year.

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