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Cautious Consumers May Go Gaga For Gadgets


Even recession-scarred consumers may still swipe their plastic for electronics.

Gadgets are expected to be one of the retail bright spots this holiday season, according to a new survey by Some 70% of shoppers expect to spend 50% or more of their holiday shopping budget on consumer electronics, the deal aggregator site found. Over 50% of those surveyed said they will spend $250 to $500 on electronics. “Sales will be strong for electronics and toys,” says independent retail analyst Jeff Green, despite forecasting flat holiday sales overall.

In fact, demand for the Amazon’s Kindle Fire and Apple’s iPad 2 are about equal. Two-thirds of shoppers (67%) don’t currently own tablets, but 64% plan to purchase one. Some 35% of shoppers plan on buying the iPad 2, while 32% are eyeing Amazon’s new Kindle Fire. What’s more, 25% of current iPad owners will purchase a Kindle Fire in the next six months, the survey found. The majority (88%) of those looking to replace the iPad with a Kindle Fire say they simply like buying the newest products.

Oddly, 65% of men value recommendation from a friend as the single most important factor when deciding to purchase a product, while 73% of women said free shipping was their main priority, according to the survey.

Despite the weak economic backdrop and ill-winds from Europe’s debt crisis, 42% of shoppers say this has not affected how much they will spend on gadgets this holiday season and another 8% actually plan to spend more. However, they are moving online from bricks-and-mortar retailers and determined to find bargains. Free shipping and recommendations from friends are two key factors when deciding to purchase consumer electronics online, the survey says. (Read here for tips on gadget shopping.)

Retailers are already bracing themselves for demand in electronics. is heavily marketing what it calls “The All-New Kindle Family” on its homepage in the run-up to Black Friday. And the so-called door-buster promotions for Black Friday lean heavily toward gadgets, with heavy discounts being offered on high definition televisions, videogame consoles, laptops, Blu-ray DVD players, The Wall Street Journal reported this week.


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About Pay Dirt

  • Pay Dirt examines the millions of consumer decisions Americans make every day: What to buy, how much to pay, whether to rave or complain. Lead written by Quentin Fottrell, the blog examines these interactions, providing readers with news, insight and tips on shopping, spending, customer service, and companies that do right – and wrong – by their customers. Send items, questions and comments to or tweet @SMPayDirt.