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Gadget sales thrive during economic storm: CEA

Sales of flat-panel televisions are up an unwavering 40 percent from last year.
by Staff Writers
San Francisco (AFP) Oct 7, 2008
The Consumer Electronics Association said Tuesday that sales of gadgets are thriving as people hunker down in their homes to weather the brutal economic storm battering world markets.

Sales of flat-panel televisions are up an unwavering 40 percent from last year and the videogame industry is poised to do more business this year-end holiday season than it did in 2007, said CEA economist Shawn DuBravac.

"Consumers are cocooning; hunkering down," DuBravac told AFP.

"And since they are not traveling to see grandma this holiday season they might as well be able to talk to her on the mobile telephone of their choice."

While cutting back on nights out at movie theaters, people are evidently rewarding themselves with electronics that provide more cinematic viewing experiences at home, according to the CEA.

"It seems that part of the story here is that people cutting back and living with 'good enough' everywhere else in their lives figure they might as well enjoy flat-panel televisions and other electronics."

Some industry forecasts cited by the CEA project that consumer electronics sales will be more robust this year-end holiday season than they were last year.

Laptop computers, mobile telephones and satellite-linked navigation devices are among the electronics selling strong as portability remains a lure for gizmo buyers.

"During the past two recessions consumers did cut back on CE (consumer electronics) spending," DuBravac said. "I think we are clearly in the midst of a recession right now and yet we haven't cut back on our CE purchases."

People appear to be shifting discretionary spending from cars, travel or other big ticket items to home electronics gadgets, particularly those that promise to last a few years.

In a promising sign for electronics makers, retailers' inventories are running lean so increases in sales will trigger needs for ordering stock.

DuBravac expects online stores to benefit as people staying at home turn increasingly to the Internet for shopping bargains.

"People spooked by the headlines will be seeking value in online stores," he said. "As people cut back on things like travel and stay at home, some online retail fits nicely into that."

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eBay cuts jobs, buys Bill Me Later, Danish websites
Washington (AFP) Oct 6, 2008
Internet giant eBay Inc., which has seen sluggish growth in its online auction business, announced Monday it was cutting its global workforce by about 10 percent.

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