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Consumer Electronics: What's Hot ..& Not?

By Oonagh Reidy | Tuesday | 23/10/2012

Plasma, MP3 players, digital cameras demand to slump this year, as LCDs are on the rise.

Consumer electronics globally is set for sluggish growth this year, say analysts, with revenues set to expand just 1.3% in 2012, as brands seeks to lure economically wounded buyers during the holiday season with cheaper prices, IHS iSuppli said today.

Although it's bad news for retailers, the news is excellent for consumers and means the asking price for the most wanted goods this Christmas, like tablets, smartphones and headphones, will be much more attractive. Price deflation is an ailment cited by several big name retailers in Oz, who are under pressure from online operators from overseas.

Revenue during the fourth quarter, encompassing the peak holiday sales season that starts with revenue from Black Friday, the one day mammoth online sale in the US which kicks off November 4, will coin retailers $99 billion, up 2.2% from last year.

In Australia, a similar sale to Black Friday is to kick off, known as 'Click Frenzy,' on Tuesday November 20, for the first time and may prove a boost to locally retailers

Several major Aussie retailers are to take part including Deals Direct, Bing Lee and Chemist Warehouse, the organisers PowerBuys told Smarthouse last week.

"Over 500 local retailers have expressed interest so far, we're still working with a few of the biggest, which will be confirmed in the coming days," a spokesperson said.

But instead of delivering new products, CE makers are improving their current offerings making them smaller, more power efficient and cheaper.

Large-sized 4K TVs (LG launched a $16K 4K TV here last month) are among the new electronics items arriving but due to high prices, they won't generate significant sales this year.

Much of the growth will be driven by just a few product categories, with several  others in decline including plasma and analogue TVs, game consoles, digital still cameras, DVD and Blu-ray recorders, portable media players and MP3 players,

Audio goods like portable stereos, components, camcorders and e-book readers are also on the fall, says iHS.

The majority of revenue growth will be driven by LCD TV demand, despite an expected decrease in unit shipments this year.

But higher than average selling prices for feature-rich LCD sets sold earlier in 2012 models will allow revenue to rise for the year, according to the US analysts.

Other hot products in the rise include digital set-top boxes and consumer appliances.

"Amid weak economic conditions, along with a lack of compelling new products, electronics brands have little choice but to slash prices to gain the attention of buyers," said Jordan Selburn, senior principal analyst, consumer platforms, for IHS.

"While consumer electronics brands and retailers always offer bargains for Black Friday, this year is likely to bring extremely steep price declines. The result is marginal growth in revenue for consumer electronics manufacturers in 2012."

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