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Economy, E-readers to Alter HD Wish Lists

While shopper turnout last week during Black Friday and the weekend seemed up slightly compared to last year, average consumer spending was down a bit, so perhaps the best thing that could be said about HD-centric products in the ongoing holiday sales season is that it will not be as bad as a year ago.

On Black Friday and this week's Cyber Monday, the hottest items moving off the shelves (both real and virtual) according to various media surveys and blogs were deeply discounted sale items on mostly generic products such as 32- and 40-inch 720p Vizio sets, and basic Blu-ray players in the $100 range. But most of those deep discounts ended on Cyber Monday (although a lot of them began well before Black Friday), so how HD items sell over the next several weeks remains a mystery.

Still, among CE products of all kinds — HD sets remain at the top of most holiday wish lists right now, according to market researcher In-Stat. That's the good news. Blu-ray players come in at no. 4. The not-so-good news is that consumers say they plan to spend less than they did a year ago on CE and other products.

According to In-Stat, the top CE products most desired by consumers this season are (in order of preference): 1) HDTV sets; 2) laptops; 3) digital cameras; 4) Blu-ray players; 5) desktop PCs.

Meanwhile, In-Stat said while not among the top CE categories most desired by respondents, the market for "e-reader" electronic books is getting hot — and could have an impact on CE sales this season. In fact, this week said November was the biggest sales month yet for its Kindle e-book, and Borders is reporting healthy sales for the Sony e-reader the chain sells.