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Consumers Shortening Their CE Shopping Lists

Port Washington, N.Y. — Economic hardships are forcing consumers to cut back on planned CE expenditures this holiday season.

According to a recent survey by market research firm The NPD Group, shoppers are either opting for less-expensive versions of the electronics they want, or are foregoing them altogether.

The poll of more than 800 consumers, conducted during the last week of October, showed that price will be a driving factor this season, making shoppers more inclined to purchase a less-expensive brand or a lower-priced model within a manufacturer’s line.

Consumers said they will show less brand loyalty when purchasing digital picture frames and MP3 players, as opposed to d-SLR cameras, where they will stick with a brand but buy a less expensive model.

Others are rethinking their big-ticket purchase plans entirely. Of the 23 percent of consumers who had considered buying a large flat-panel TV (40 inches and larger), 33 percent said they will definitely not buy one now because of the economy. Similarly, of the 12 percent of consumers who had been in the market for a d-SLR, one-quarter said they will now probably forgo plans to purchase a higher-end camera.

The report also found that 54 percent of consumers who plan to hit the stores early on Black Friday are more interested in deals on specific products rather than overall bargains.

“The extraordinary economic turmoil we have seen will have a tremendous impact this season as consumers have said that they will probably or definitely hold off on products that have grossed the highest revenue over the last several holiday seasons,” said Ross Rubin, NPD’s industry analysis director.

“To take the best advantage of the consumers who still plan to buy these products, retailers will need to consider where consumers are cutting back on features and where they are switching bands or simply skimming on accessories.”