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Tech Spending Hit Pre-Holiday Lull: CEA

Possible concerns over the health of the economy or, more likely, a pre-holiday pause in spending, sent the likelihood of consumer tech purchases down in October, according to the Consumer Electronics Association (CEA).

The trade group cited its monthly Index of Technology Expectations (ICTE), which measures consumer expectations about tech spending and registered a 5.5-point drop in October, to 83.3, on the 100-point scale.

But according to CEA chief economist Shawn Du- Bravac, the dip is consistent with past years and “not unusual for October.”

Indeed, this year more consumers (71 percent vs. 61 percent in 2014) plan to wait until November or December to start their holiday shopping, while 24 percent — down from 31 percent last year — anticipated shopping in October or earlier, CEA’s separate 2015 holiday outlook study showed.

That report predicted a record-setting holiday season, with 65 percent of U.S. consumers, or roughly 160 million Americans, planning to buy tech gifts this quarter.

CEA’s observed delay in tech spending jibes with recent research by couponing and cash-back site FatWallet, which found that shoppers, by a margin of nearly 4 to 1, expect major retailers to present the deepest savings of the year on Black Friday, vs. pre-holiday sales events.

Ready to challenge consumer expectations is Newegg, the top tech-specialty e-tailer, which rolled out a month-long series of deep discounts and special promotions under the banner of “Black November.”

“We have put together our best product lineup and deals yet for the holiday season,” said Newegg COO James Wu. “By offering deep discounts the entire month of November, people can take advantage of attractive pricing whenever the mood strikes them.”

Newegg’s promotional calendar runs thusly:

Nov. 1-3: Black November kick-off with deep discounts on more than 900 products across all categories;
Nov. 4-9: Black November gaming event featuring “great prices” on video game titles, consoles and accessories;
Nov. 10-26: Black Friday preview sale with a broad sampling of early Black Friday deals with discounts refreshed frequently;
Nov. 27: Short-term, massive price-cuts throughout, with many limited-quantity deals;
Nov. 30: Cyber Monday sale with fresh discounts and other promotions.