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Consumer Electronic Sales Fall Flat

Boot Camp feature for Thursday, November 13, 2003

Consumer electronics sales... falling flat. Bloomberg Boot Camp, a report on today's technology. At the beginning of this year... the Consumer Electronics Association was forecasting a three and a half increase in sales in the U.S. this year... but association CEO Gary Shapiro says...

"Well it seems we were a little bit optimistic. We're looking at a one percent increase for 2003. The economy is a little slower than we thought it would be but we're still happy to say it's up. And also what happened is prices went down in the consumer electronics industry quicker than we thought."

Even though consumers are being attracted to flat screen hang on the wall type plasma and LCD TVs... price drops mean they don't have to spend as much to get them. Sony's senior vice president of home products Tim Baxter...

"We have a TV industry in the United States that amounts to a little under 30 million units a year. There is clearly a shift in the technology from CRT technology, tube technology, to a very exciting and interesting time in the flat panel area."

And traditional makers like Sony, Panasonic and RCA... are all of a sudden facing competition from computer makers like Gateway and Dell. About that, the CEA's Shapiro says...

"Well it's good news for the industry. It's good news for the consumer. Competition is a good thing. It does put pressure on margins for existing companies."

There are hopes that increasing optimism about the economy and an improving employment picture will lead to more spending on consumer electronics during the holiday season. Bloomberg Boot Camp, I'm Fred Fishkin.