Cutting-Edge Consumers Prefer Big-Box CE Stores: Survey

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Big box specialty stores — particularly Best Buy — remain the favorite place for techno-savvy movers-and-shakers to shop for CE, followed by wholesale clubs/discount chains and e-commerce sites.

That's the word according to ChangeWave Research, an investment research publisher headquartered here. Its findings were based on responses from 1,430 senior technology and business executives from ChangeWave's regular “Alliance” panel, which includes 4,600 professionals and managers from the CE, IT, telecom, entertainment and biomedical industries. Fifty-eight percent of Alliance members have graduate degrees and 94 percent have bachelor's degrees.

ChangeWave, founded by investment guru and talk-show commentator Tobin Smith, believes feedback from the Alliance's early adopter constituency can serve as a good leading indicator of business and economic trends.

According to the survey, conducted on the eve of the holiday selling season, big-box specialty stores (64 percent) continue to be the venue of choice for Alliance members when shopping for home entertainment and networking products. Discounters of all stripes garnered 38 percent of the tally, followed by e-tailers (36 percent), independents (11 percent) and regional specialty stores (8 percent).

Asked which specific stores they most preferred to shop for home entertainment and networking products, Best Buy was the resounding choice with 49 percent of votes, followed by Circuit City at 18 percent, Amazon.com with 16 percent and Costco at 15 percent. Wal-Mart ranked sixth, following Fry's, and RadioShack, Target, Staples and Overstock.com all tied for 13th place at 3 percent each. Tweeter Home Entertainment Group, Ultimate Electronics and CDW tied for last place with 1 percent each.

Amazon showed the largest increase since last summer's survey, with a gain of 4 percentage points.

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