ChangeWave: Discount Retailers Attracting Wealthy Shoppers

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Rockville, Md. — ChangeWave Research, a market research firm that tracks changes in industries and companies through surveys of business executives and professionals, has found that even presumably higher-income shoppers are choosing discount retailers instead of big-box electronics stores when shopping for their home electronics gear.

The company surveyed 3,881 of its 10,000 ChangeWave Alliance members, a network of business, technology and medical professionals, between June 6-12, on their “electronic gadgets and home entertainment shopping.”

In terms of customer preference, discount retailers Costco and Wal-Mart each gained 2 percentage points since the group’s last survey in March 2007. Target also saw an increase, gaining 3 points to bring it up to 8 percent.

Though Best Buy still proved to be the most preferred store overall, it lost 3 points since the last survey, dropping to 51 percent share. Circuit City lost 5 points, bringing it down to 17 percent, and CompUSA reached what ChangeWave called “a new all-time low” by losing 4 points since the March survey, bringing it down to a 5 percent share.

Overall spending in the consumer electronics market was said to look “slightly better” than it did a year ago. However, ChangeWave said it expected a spending dip over the next 90 days because 32 percent of respondents said they’ll spend less on electronics during that time, while only 26 percent said they’d spend more.

In terms of specific products, LCD TVs continued to top the list of products that consumers said they expect to buy over the next 90 days, with 14 percent saying they would buy one.

Digital cameras are expected to have the “greatest momentum” over the next 90 days because 13 percent of respondents said they plan to buy within the category over that time period, a 2-point gain since the March survey.

In the TV service category, Comcast was found to have increased its market share lead among U.S. and Canadian and cable TV providers by 2 points since March.

DirecTV and DISH Network tied in the satellite market with 11 percent share each, a number that remained unchanged for Dish Network, while DirectTV had dropped 1 point. Verizon’s FiOS TV picked up another point and now accounts for 2 percent share.

ChangeWave noted that 13 percent of its respondents said that they plan to change their TV service providers in the next six months. Verizon FiOS TV and DirecTV, each with 29 percent of the future share, are expected to benefit most after the change, while DISH Network, with 10 percent future share, has declined 9 points since the last survey.

The company also examined the high-definition DVD market. It found that Toshiba’s HD-DVD player is still the market share leader with 7 percent compared with Sony Blu-ray’s 1 percent. In the future, 3 percent of respondents said that they expect to buy an HD-DVD player, up 1 point from the March survey. One percent plan to buy a Blu-ray player; this number remains unchanged. Two percent say they plan to buy a player than can play both formats.

Finally, ChanceWave found that Apple iPod ownership is up “slightly” since its previous survey. The increase was lead by the iPod Nano, which the company found to be up 2 points, to 15 percent.

The group noted that only a “small number” of respondents said they currently own an Apple TV but that 8 percent said they are likely to buy one in the next 90 days.


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