updated 09:50 am EDT, Wed March 19, 2008
Electronics spending crash
American spending on electronics is about to take a sharp slide, suggests a study by ChangeWave Research. In a survey of over 4,400 Americans conducted between February 18th and the 25th, a full 33 percent said they would be spending less on electronics in the next 90 days, versus only 19 percent who said they would spend more. Although "spending less" responses tend to dominate in most months of the year except for the run-up to Christmas, the gap is now the largest it has been since 2002, a factor which may both reflect and harm an already damaged US economy.
Big-box electronics retailers are expected to take the biggest hit, namely Best Buy in a shift to 45 percent of marketshare, and Circuit City in a drop to 14 percent. Web superstore Amazon is pegged to decline to 16 percent, while Apple may fall to 6 percent. Stores such as Costco and Wal-Mart -- for whom electronics are only a part of their product -- should hold on to their current positions.
Sales of LCD TVs may be the worst hit, slipping to 10 percent. Cellphones and digital cameras are predicted to fall to 8 and 7 percent, while iPods occupy a category of their own and may shrink to 2 percent. Conversely, 8 percent of those polled say they will buy a Nintendo Wii in the next 12 months, and 9 percent each intend to get a Blu-ray player or a GPS device.
President Bush's planned tax rebate is unlikely to go far, according to ChangeWave, with only 7 percent spending it on electronics. Most intend to improve their economic outlook, either paying off debt (33 percent), investing in the market (23 percent), or simply saving the money (21 percent).