The official start to the holiday shopping season -- Black Friday -- is rapidly approaching and stores are already starting to slash prices. At its recent CES Unveiled event, the Consumer Electronics Association (CEA) predicted a 3 percent decrease in spending from last year, based on their research. This is due to a number of reasons, including 53 percent of those polled in a recent CEA survey who say they are making less money than they were last year.
One positive by-product of the economic downturn is the opportunity to become a smarter shopper. The first thing you can do is determine what your family and friends actually want this year. The CEA revealed the top 10 "most wanted" consumer electronics products, based on a random sample of 1,002 U.S. adults. The top five items are about the same as last year's - laptops, MP3 players, digital cameras, flat-panel TVs and video game systems. But there are three new items on the list this year: the Apple iPhone, the Amazon Kindle and Blu-ray players. For teens, netbooks are the new entry for 2009. (Based on a random sample of 503 U.S. teens.)
Other notable trends include a rise in shoppers likely to shop for consumer electronics at mass merchants (67 percent), such as Walmart for consumer electronics, beating electronics stores (60 percent) and online (41 percent). We've already been scouring leaked Black Friday circulars from a number of stores including Walmart, Sears and Kohl's and have identified a few good deals. The CEA is predicting average price declines of 25 percent this year. Happy shopping!