Digital Music Players, Flat-Panel TVs Top Wish Lists

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NEW YORK ( -- Consumers may not buy more electronic devices this holiday season, but they will likely spend more, according to the Consumer Electronics Association, thanks to intense interest in premium-priced items such as flat-panel TVs and MP3 players.
Digital music players -- particularly Apple's iPod line -- topped consumers' holiday wish list.

9% increase
Buyers in U.S. households will spend more than $17 billion on consumer electronics devices in the fourth quarter, he said, representing an increase of almost 9% from last year. MP3 players -- particularly those from Apple -- topped adults’ wish and gift lists in CEA’s 12th annual Holiday Sales and Forecast survey.

“Consumers are voting with their dollars for portable” devices, CEA's director of industry analysis, Sean Wargo, said at a preview press conference today for the Consumer Electronics Show. In the MP3 player category, 28% of all adults said they planned to purchase one for the holiday, with 57% of early tech adopters saying they intended to buy. Revenue from the players is expected to reach $123 billion in 2006, up 200% from projections this year.

And while CEA did not ask for specific MP3 brands, Mr. Wargo said that when consumers were asked the open-ended question “What gift do you want?” Apple garnered the lion’s share of the branded answers. “It’s safe to say Apple has a dominant share of both actual sales and mind share,” he said.

New York gathering
Consumer electronics executives, analysts and press were regaled with holiday spending projections, as well as a bevy of new products in New York as part of a “coming attractions” showcase for the industry’s largest event to be held in January in Las Vegas. Many top consumer electronics marketers attended the preview, revealing plans and products for the holiday season.

Kodak talked up the initial success of its WiFi digital camera, which allows users to print photos without having to plug in a wire or put the camera on a docking station. The company said the unit is enjoying brisk sales only two weeks into its launch. And Sony Electronics Chief Marketing Officer Mike Fasulo said the company would showcase its “united” business and brand strategy with a broad range of its products and services at the January show.

Sony chairman-CEO
Sony Chairman-CEO Howard Stringer will be the opening keynote speaker at CES, which also hosts other heavyweight speakers including Microsoft Chairman Bill Gates, Intel Corp. CEO Paul Otellini, Yahoo Chairman-CEO Terry Semel and Federal Communications Commission Chairman Kevin Martin.

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