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Feb.-March Becoming Key CE Sales Season: IBM

Armonk, N.Y. – February
and March are emerging as an important selling period for consumer electronics
and appliances

according to a new study by IBM.

The conclusion is based on
the $330 million increase in CE and majap retail sales in March over February as
reported by the U.S. Commerce Department, and on IBM’s own monthly sales
forecasts for the next two years.

According to the company’s Global Business Services unit, the
sales increase, to $8.4 billion, was
$50 million greater than the average February-to-March gain over the past 21
years, while IBM’s forecast suggests that the month-over-month spikes will
continue in 2012 and 2013.

The projections are based
on 21 years of historical data and proprietary analytics software that evaluates
long-term trends and seasonal peaks. IBM says its forecasts have been
demonstrated to be accurate to 99 percent, and the company uses the predictive techniques to help
clients improve performance by addressing such issues as supply and demand, product
mix and new store locations.

Observed IBM’s retail
analytics leader Michael Haydock, “The first step is for retailers to
understand what is motivating the customers who are buying in this time period.
That understanding will help guide merchants as they make their advertising,
staffing and inventory plans.”

Haydock said all
indications are that personal disposable income will continue to climb while
savings as a percent of personal disposable income will continue to fall –
meaning that people are saving slightly less. These two factors combine to
provide a good “tailwind,” he said, which could lead to improving sales for the

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