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Consumer Electronics Spending Going Down

Cue the doom music. Earlier I noted the analysts at ChangeWave had some survey data on corporate IT spending that did not bode well for the economy. Today they’re back with data on consumer electronics and general consumer spending and the verdict is equally bleak.

The firm surveyed 3,773 consumers between Feb. 18-15. Here’s what they found:

·        Nearly two-in-five U.S. respondents (39 percent) said they’ll spend less over the next 90 days than they did a year ago. That’s 5 points worse than January 2008 and the worst reading in a ChangeWave survey since 2002.

·        25 percent said they’ll spend more — 4 points worse than previously.

·         The decline in spending growth is occurring across all income levels — including “super spenders” who earn more than $150,000 per year.

Why are consumers spending less? ChangeWave noted:

·        Two-in-five (40 percent) cited inflation as the reason for reduced spending. The inflation measure is 4 points higher than in a January 2008 survey, and 10 points above November figures.

·        28 percent said it’s to save more money; up 3 points since January.

On to consumer electronics spending, which the firm described as getting “whacked.”

“The declines in this sector were greater than those of any other spending category,” they noted. “Only 19 percent say they’ll spend more on consumer electronics over the next 90 days compared to 33 percent who say less. All told, that’s a net 10-point decline since January and the weakest outlook for electronics spending ever recorded in an Alliance survey.”

Just to round out the good cheer, they also pour some cold water on the government’s stimulus package, saying that consumers aren’t going to run out and buy an LCD TV or a digital camera. Nope. Instead, consumers told ChangeWave they’re going to pay down debt (33 percent), invest the money (23 percent) or save the money (21 percent).

Here are some charts they’ve created. Looking at the first one, it’s not all bad news. The industry took a big dip in spend more/spend less figures in the November 2006 to January 2007 time frame and yet CE sales were solid. Although the 19 percent figure is quite low …