IBM Forecasts Bump In Electronics Sales

September and October should bring a 5% rise in consumer purchases of PCs, mobile phones, and appliances.

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IBM produced a sliver of good news amid the generally grim economic reports this week: the firm's analytics-based forecasting service predicts that sales of electronics and appliances will rise 5% -- a $739 million bump -- in September and October.

Citing likely pent-up demand and an increasing need by consumers to feel connected, IBM noted that disposable income, as reported by the U.S. Commerce Department, is rising along with household savings rates. That translates into rising sales for PCs, cell phones, tablet computers, and other appliances, according to the IBM report.

"The forecast indicates that retailers should consider maintaining inventory levels, especially in the hot categories," said IBM global business services partner Michael Haydock, in a statement. "They should also make sure that stores are staffed with skilled personnel who can assist customers with complex purchases, and continue to invest in advertising leading up to the holidays."

Haydock, a specialist in retail analytics, utilizes 18 years of IBM historical data and sophisticated algorithms to produce both long-term trends and seasonal peaks. He believes the program produces highly accurate projections of industry sales.

However, even with the rosy projections for this September and October, the results aren't likely to achieve the September-October electronics and appliance results for 2008, when $16.137 billion in sales was recorded. Last year, the two months combined produced sales of $15.065 billion and this year the market is expected to recover somewhat to $15.804 billion for the two-month period.

In preparing the report, IBM used U.S. Census Bureau economic data, which has been collected from surveys of retail establishments specializing in electronics and appliances.

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