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CEA Survey Sees Holiday Sales Growth Down by Half

While no one seems to be looking forward to the upcoming holiday sales season for HD and other CE products in the wake of faltering economy, the Consumer Electronics Association said it predicts that sales will at least grow in this final quarter of 2008—by about 3.5 percent over last year.

That's the glass half-full side. The glass half-empty side adds the fact that 3.5 percent in growth represents only half of the approximately 7 percent increase seen in the fourth quarter of last year. (And other business forecasts by a variety of analysts are predicting somewhat less than a 3.5 percent jump this holiday season.)

When asked to consider an array of electronic goods (from large-screen HD to tiny MP3 players), about 40 percent of American consumers included in the Holiday Trends Survey released at the 2008 CEA Industry Forum listed such items as "must have" on their wish lists. Not bad, all things considered, although that also indicates well over half of surveyed consumers do consider CE products a "must have" this year (an attitude also borne out by some industry analysts).

The CEA survey compiled last week at the forum (Oct. 19-22 in Las Vegas) also found 87 percent of consumers feel the United States economy is worse than it was at this time last year.

Yet because the survey finds that (due to inflation and other factors) a typical family's gift budget for CE products will grow from 22 to 28 percent this year, the CEA optimistically concludes that "there remains a robust desire for consumer electronics and CE continues to be the bright light during these dark economic times."