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CEA: Black Friday Is Now Black November

Black Friday isn’t starting the day after Thanksgiving this year — it has already begun.

That was the message Shawn DuBravac, chief economist/research director, and Steve Koenig, industry analysis director — both of the Consumer Electronics Association (CEA) — presented at CEA’s annual CES Unveiled press event, held here earlier this month.

“Black Friday has begun early,” DuBravac said. “Consumers are starting to go out, which is consistent with [the idea] that they’re shopping around more [this holiday season].”

DuBravac noted that while Black Friday has traditionally been about doorbusters, they have been “seeing some feature-rich devices in the mix” this year, including Internet-connected TVs. “You see this across a variety of product offerings. It will be interesting to see which wins on Black Friday — lowest price point, or will [the consumer] be willing to step up for features?”

Bundling will also be a prominent retail tactic this holiday selling season, Koenig said, pointing to a Best Buy computer bundle offering a netbook, monitor, desktop, router, laptop and in-home network set-up for $1,199 as a prime example. “Bundling will be in abundance to get that higher ticket,” he said.

Looking ahead to International CES, Koenig and DuBravac addressed what they believed would be the largest trends at the show. These included:

• interactive and 3D TV;

• mobile TV, software and packaged media;

• a new screen-size “sweet spot”; and

• apps and accessories.

DuBravac said the 3D TV market was set to grow and that the CEA believed 2010 was the first year a viable market existed around 3D. Attendees should look for 3D emerging in other devices, he added. “Watching where else 3D turns up is something to look for on the show floor.”

According to the CEA, 17 percent of adults have seen a 3D movie in the theater in the past 12 months.

Moving on to the next trend, Koenig said CES attendees will see a lot of content options on display. “The fact we have all this content means consumers need a way to corral it all. One area that really highlights this is the vehicle … Consumers want a way to access content in the car,” he said.

According to the CEA, 50 percent of men and 37 percent of women are very or somewhat interested in listening to Internet radio in their car. Thirty-four percent of men and 29 percent of women are very or somewhat interested in checking their email in the car.

The third trend to watch for at CES, the pair said, was the idea of a screen size “sweet spot.” Until recently, the majority of CE devices occupied either the low end of the screen size spectrum (1 to 5 inches) or the high end (15 inches and larger). This year, netbooks and e-readers occupied that screen-size void. Show-goers should look for technology that use that screen size. “A lot of innovation is left in that part of the screen spectrum,” DuBravac said.

Apps and accessories rounded out the forecasted trends, which went along with CEA’s prediction that accessories will be the one of the best sellers this holiday season.

“Apps, in a word, are omnipresent,” Koenig said. “The fact of the matter is this apps phenomenon is starting to grow across a variety of CE devices … Apps is the most frequently spoken word at the 2010 CES.”