CEA Sees Bundles, Early Black Friday Sales In Q4

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New York - In case you had any doubts, Black Friday has arrived early this year.

That was one of the trends discussed at the annual Consumer Electronics Association (CEA) International CES Press Preview here yesterday by Shawn DuBravac, chief economist and research director, and Steve Koenig, industry analysis director, who highlighted what to expect during upcoming holiday season and International CES.

No. 1 on the list of trends for the holiday season were event-driven sales -- a.k.a. Black Friday and Cyber Monday.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, DuBravac added that major appliances were expected to play a larger role in this year's sales promotions. "Appliances have started to pick up on this trend, and retailers have started to load the channel in advance of Black Friday as well. It would make sense that a lot of these retailers selling electronics are also selling appliances and will try to drive that momentum."

Koenig joked, "We haven't seen MP3 player docks in laundry but you never know."

Bundles were expected to be prominent during the fourth quarter (especially video game bundles), as well as what DuBravac and Koenig named "the 50 percent rule."

According to DuBravac, "New technologies see half of their volume show up in the fourth quarter. As a product matures, that percentage declines, but in the early years, it is above 50 percent. We see a lot of new product categories that can take advantage of this relationship.

"[Consumers] like to give new products, they like to get new products [during the holidays]. We see things like tablets, connected devices, game accessories ... I think you'll see a lot of products that are well-positioned to take advantage of this rule," he said.

Regarding International CES, held Jan. 6-9 in Las Vegas, Koenig and DeBravac displayed the four trends that CEA expects to dominate the show. The first, what they termed "portability vs. pocketabilty," is thought to be a direct result of the iPad. "It's portable but not pocketable, and that has changed how we talk about mobility," said DuBravac. "It used to be that when we talked about mobility, we talked about laptops vs. desktops ... [but now] it's about grabbing the device that's most meaningful given the context."

The notion of secondary features taking primary roles was the second trend on CEA's list, and DuBravac and Koenig cited vehicles and printers as examples.

Miniaturization and "Sensorization" were next on the list. With sensors getting smaller and less expensive, new devices are being empowered. DuBravac said, providing Microsoft's Kinect as an example. "It has four microphones, three cameras, a variety of other sensing technologies. None of the sensors in it of themselves are new, but by pulling them together you create this ... transformation."

Apps, of course, will also play a role at CES, and the pair listed this as the fourth and final trend. Koenig noted, "One thing to look for is the cross-platform connectivity. This has not happened yet, but I think we'll see it at CES."


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