CEA revises holiday sales projections downward

December 8, 2008

The Consumer Electronics Association has issued an unusual downward revision of its holiday sales projections. In October, the CEA projected sales would grow 3.5 percent this year. Now, they say sales will be roughly equal to last year.

Television sets are key to consumer electronics sales. Currently, buyers are choosing smaller, less expensive sets. Unit shipments of televisions rose 22 percent in October 2007; however, revenue from those shipments fell 3 percent.

The CEA said the downturn was taking an unexpectedly serious toll on the computer business, due in part to heavy discounting and increased interest in netbooks — a new generation of low-cost Internet-centric computers.

The CEA’s Jason Oxman told “The New York Times” that the big drop from its earlier projections could be explained by the rapid change in economic fortunes. “Although CEA certainly took price declines and weakness in consumer demand into consideration, the severity and the speed of the declines in these unprecedented times caught everyone off guard,” Oxman said.

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