Looking at the sales reports from the long Thanksgiving weekend, it looks like retailers in general and consumer electronics in particular did a bit better than the pundits were expecting. Industry data I’ve seen showed overall sales increases, compared to the same period last year, up in the single digits, ranging from about 3 percent to 7 percent.
Here at Sony, sales of our Bravia LCD televisions, Blu-ray Disc players and Reader electronic book devices all exceeded expectations. Clearly, the demand for flat-panel HDTVs is very strong with the holidays, the Superbowl and the analog TV cutoff all coming in the months ahead. On the BD player front, there were a lot of great deals going on. And we’ve seen that the Reader is making a bigger mark as a gift item this year.
Individual retailer reports seemed to have varied somewhat, but in-store consumer traffic appeared to be very strong nationwide at virtually all of them from what I’m hearing, especially on Black Friday itself.
Internet shoppers were out in force too, as more and more consumers are going to the Web not only to educate themselves and compare product offerings, but to buy and buy they did. SonyStyle.com actually saw triple-digit (that’s right, triple-digit) sales increases overall compared to last year during this time.
Sony Style stores around the country also saw significant growth over the prior period, which I was especially pleased to see after visiting all of the stores and getting to know many of the staff during my summer blog tour.
I believe consumer trust and confidence in a quality brand like Sony helps a lot in challenging economic times like these. And falling gasoline prices don’t hurt either.