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Holiday Season Will Be Quick, Happy For Dealers

Christmas happens every year, even in wacky ones like this – from a calendar standpoint – where Thanksgiving is on the latest date possible, Hanukkah lands on the same day, and Dec. 25 is on a Wednesday.

While accountants and other bean-counters at major retailers and Wall Street rightly point out that there will be fewer shopping days this year than any year in a decade, consumers are creatures of habit. Most will begin their shopping on Black Friday – or, for some, on “Black Bah Humbug Day” – formerly known only as Thanksgiving. (Charles Dickens would have had a field day with this new retail trend.)

Outrage aside, the Consumer Electronics Association recently predicted that CE spending will increase this holiday season by 2.6 percent, down from last year’s 4 percent (See TWICE, Nov. 4, 2013). And CEA predicted that 57 percent of consumers will begin shopping after Thanksgiving — old habits die hard.

For those retailers in both the CE and major appliance businesses, they are feeling a little bit better than their CE-only counterparts, as senior editor Alan Wolf reports in his Holiday Preview report starting on p. 6. White goods have been selling well this year, and retailers expect that momentum to continue through the holiday season.

While tablets and smartphones will be the most popular CE items this holiday season, consumers still want TVs as gifts, especially those larger than 50 inches. They are selling well and should continue to do so, which will help Ultra HD, the upscale TV format that will be experiencing its first holiday selling season.

Ultra HD Conference

Speaking of Ultra HD, I would be remiss if I did not refer you to our special coverage of the TWICE/ CEA Ultra HD Conference, which was held here in New York last Tuesday just prior to the Consumer Electronics Association’s (CEA) CES Unveiled NY press conference and event.

I’d like to make an observation about the conference: There were plenty of comparisons about Ultra HD and the disappointing rollout of 3D.

When 3D was introduced, I always felt that enthusiasm for the format by manufacturers and retailers was forced because they knew it would have to overcome a major hurdle — wearing glasses to watch TV.

The enthusiasm for Ultra HD’s prospects that I observed from all the panelists, and many of the attendees, was genuine. It does what great TVs of the past always have done — it provides a demonstrably better picture — and should provide a new ecosystem of products and profitability starting now.

TWICE would like to thank our partner CEA for helping us put the conference together, platinum sponsor LG Electronics and participating sponsor Sony. We would also like to thank all of our panelists; TWICE publisher Ed Hecht, who was our master of ceremonies; moderators Gary Shapiro of CEA, Deborah McAdams of TV Technology and TWICE’s Mr. Wolf; as well as our executive editor Greg Tarr, who put together most of the program; and, of course, our attendees, who got a glimpse into video’s future.