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Electronics holiday sales could surprise

A report released this month by National Retail Federation gave a gloomy forecast for holiday spending. It found U.S. consumers plan to spend a mere 1.9 percent more than they did during the previous holiday season, and that nearly 70 percent of buyers would shop discount stores.

However, nearly 40 percent of respondents said they would also be shopping electronics stores.

Consumer electronics products continue to top the holiday wish lists of adults and teens, resulting in 3.5 percent projected growth in fourth-quarter industry shipments over last year, according to research released in October by the Consumer Electronics Association (CEA). Nearly 80 percent of adults expressed interest in receiving a consumer electronics product as a gift this holiday season, an increase of four points from last year. Meanwhile, 84 percent of teens want to receive a CE product this year, up eight percent from 2007.

Mississippi stores are banking that survey holds true. They have shelves stocked with new gadgets, gizmos and toys that can be great tools at the workplace and/or entertainment at home.

What’s on TV?

In its “wow factor” list of products, CEA found high-definition TVs placed a close second to video games. Jackson-based

Cowboy Maloney’s Electric City agrees.
Cowboy Maloney’s stores are stocked wall to wall with flat-screen TVs, and for a reason, said Con Maloney, chairman of the board. While TVs have always been a popular holiday gift, he said several factors were making this year special.

“With all of the swirls in the economy, we feel people will travel less, and instead of buying many small gifts, will buy perhaps a large gift,” Maloney said.

He added that the upcoming digital conversion is also a factor. Congress mandated that February 17, 2009, would be the last day for full-power television stations to broadcast in analog. Broadcast stations in all U.S. markets are currently broadcasting in both analog and digital. After February 17, 2009, full-power television stations will broadcast in digital only. He said this should lead many to elect to purchase a new TV set this holiday season.

Answer the phone

Smart phones, accessories and calling plans are expected to also be popular among gift-buyers this season. The new iPhone 3G and the latest Blackberry models continue to gain users.

Cellular South in Ridgeland is prepared for a brisk season with a number of services and products. For instance, the telecom has paired up with Boulder, Colo.-based mShopper, a complete mobile shopping platform, to transform the way the carrier’s subscribers shop. That deal was sewn up last August, and Cellular South feels it will be attractive to gift-givers this season.

The company is also touting several of its phones. Diamond from Cellular South utilizes Cellular South’s 3G high-speed network, the Spyder from Cellular South is clad in stainless steel and features a sliding screen that revels a keypad, and the Blackberry Pearl from Cellular South is a PDA device with advanced phone features, multimedia digital camera and more.

“The Diamond will be released on Black Friday. We are selling the others now, and they are two of our biggest sellers,” said Jim Richmond, director of corporate communications at Cellular South.

Crank it up
Looking for a

reat gift for that special guitar player? There’s some attractive, cutting-edge products just released from Meridian-based Peavey Electronics that has the industry and electric guitar enthusiasts humming.

In June, Peavey unveiled its PDX Series, a new breed of “extreme” electric guitars. With “hot” electronics that can make the guitars really scream, the PDX Series is featured in the “2009 Guitar World Buyer’s Guide.”

Also in June, Peavey debuted ReValver Mk III, which the company describes as “revolutionary virtual tube-amplifier software,” it, too, has turned heads.

“In terms of sounding and feeling like a real amp, ReValver is easily the best software I’ve tried,” wrote Michael Ross in the June issue of EQ.

If shoppers want something even more unique, they can always go to Peavey’s online “Custom Shop.” This offering allows buyers to build a unique guitar to their liking.

Brand conscious

There is a seemingly endless list of new electronic gadgetry that can be used at work, home or both. These gadgets not only make good gifts, but they can also give a company’s brand a boost, according to Jimmy Underwood.

Underwood, president of National Awards in Jackson, says electronic gadgets embossed with a company logo are a hot trend in corporate gift-giving. They are a great way to say thanks for past business or to get new business.

National Awards offers a plethora of high-tech gadgets and devices. They include: the Powermonkey Explorer, an emergency charger for cell phones, iPods, cameras and more.

Contact MBJ staff writer Wally Northway at wally.northway@msbusiness.com.


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