Retailers, consumers and prices
Americans were united this weekend in the hunt for cheap electronics. It looks like the biggest Black Friday deals out there were for flat-screen televisions at around $400 (remember when $1,000 was considered a discount?) and laptops under $500.
“Last year, Blu-ray players that were selling for probably $200 were selling for closer to $130 this year. Television sets that were selling for $599 last year were selling for $399 this year,” said Scott Krugman, a spokesman for the National Retail Federation.
Best Buy’s chief Brian Dunn also told us flat-screen TVs and netbooks were hot sellers, but added that that might not be enough to prevent a tough holiday overall.
Retailers used these discounts as a lure to get people into stores or browsing websites and entice them to purchase other stuff. But the U.S. consumer caught on to the strategy and just bought the TV and left. Or drove to another store if the TVs were sold out.
Shoppers also did their homework, maybe more so than in any previous year. Traffic to Amazon.com and Walmart.com rose 28 percent and 22 percent, respectively, on Black Friday, according to comScore. Traffic to Apple.com rose 39 percent.
Google Insights for Search says searches for the term “consumer electronics” tripled over Thanksgiving and Black Friday, while other favorite holiday categories like toys rose 50 percent.
The trade group held a conference call later in the day to add details about their forecast. Here is what NRF spokeswoman Ellen Davis said about the forces that will shape the upcoming holiday shopping season:
from Raw Japan:
Some of my friends have bought Blu-ray disc players recently and brag about the breath-taking picture quality on their big flat TVs. Sales of Blu-ray recorders have outstripped those of regular DVD recorders by almost seven to three in recent months in Japan, research firm GfK Marketing Services Japan says.
But some Blu-ray users complain that movie rental stores don't have much of a selection in the format. Tsutaya, Japan's largest movie rental chain and a unit of Culture Convenience Club, says some of its stores carry as many as 300 Blu-ray titles, but that's barely a fraction of the average 40,000 DVD titles available.