Many companies have been surprised by this Changes in our spending selection this year. Americans, who after two years are largely traveling and partying at home, are munching on plane tickets and fancier clothes — ignoring the patio furniture and soft pants we splurged on in 2020.
Consumer electronics could be the burning center of Americans’ flip-flop shopping habits. Gadget buying has suddenly gone from hot to not, a change that will most likely bring pain and confusion to many businesses – and potentially some great deals for people who still want to buy electronics.
In the early months of the pandemic, many of us were so eager to buy Internet routers, laptops, video game consoles, and other tech gadgets to keep us productive and cozy from home that some products were impossible to find. However, experts warned that people would inevitably put off buying some types of devices until they need them again.
The magnitude of the change after two years of gadget purchases has surprised many people. From January through May, electronics and appliance stores are the only retail category whose sales fell compared to the same five months in 2021, the Commerce Department disclosed last week. Best Buy said last month that purchases across its stores, particularly computers and home entertainment, have been and are down probably stay meh. And the research company IDC expects global smartphone sales be down this year, most sharply in China.
What’s bad for electronics manufacturers and stores could be good for us, but value hunters need to be careful. Nathan Burrow, who writes about shopping deals for Wirecutter, the New York Times’ product recommendation service, tells me that some electronics are already being discounted. But a sale if Inflation is at a 40-year high in the USA may not always be a good deal. A discounted product could cost more than similar models just a few years ago, Burrow said.
The whip in shopping habits has led Walmart to targetGap and some other retail chains that have too much of it wrong types of products. That’s true of some types of electronics, too, meaning more discounts are likely during the summer shopping “holidays” at Amazon, Target, Best Buy, and Walmart.
Burrow predicts significant price reductions for tablets, Internet networking devices, Amazon devices, and some laptops, including Chromebooks.
Market research firm NPD Group said this year that sales of consumer electronics would increase most likely refuse in 2022 and again in 2023 and 2024 – but two previous crazy years of electronics sales would still leave overall sales higher than 2019. Despite the overall higher sales, this electronics sales phenomenon unexpectedly goes through the roof and then suddenly goes back confusing for everyone Gadget maker and seller.
“It’s the unpredictability that makes things worse,” says Jitesh Ubrani, research manager at IDC.
It is difficult for manufacturers, retailers and buyers of electronics to make long-term predictions. Some executives have said global shipping and availability of essential components like computer chips may never be normal in 2019. Select electronics like super cheap TVs and laptops could disappear forever as manufacturers and retailers have addicted to higher profits from more expensive products.
In the electronics industry, experts told me there were talks about how to do things differently to prepare for potential future crises, including expanding manufacturing of devices to countries other than China. It’s not clear how our spending might shift again in response to inflation, government efforts to cool rising prices, or a possible recession.
For a while, people in rich countries got used to a steady stream of cheap and plentiful electronics, furniture, clothing, and other goods, thanks to connected global factories and shipping. The pandemic and the madness it created in supply chains some economists and executives have done reconsider the status quo.
It’s possible that the ups and downs in electronics sales since 2020 will settle down in a few years. Or maybe consumer electronics are a microcosm of a world that has been transformed by the pandemic and may never be quite the same again.
Before we go…
Microsoft will remove features that purport to identify a person’s age, gender, and emotional state from its facial recognition technology. My colleague Kashmir Hill reported that this decision was part of a broader effort within the company and elsewhere in the technology industry to use artificial intelligence software more responsibly.
A rural California town is shared by drones in Amazon package delivery: “I don’t want drones flying around my house — we live in the country,” said a resident of Lockeford, California. said The Washington Post. (Subscription may be required.)
Related from On Tech last week: Where are the delivery drones?
Is Google search not what it used to be? The Atlantic looks at the scraps of truth – including ruthless commercialization – behind the sense that web search is becoming less and less useful. (Subscription may be required.)
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You must read my colleague Sarah Lyall’s article about Wasabi, the semi-retired champion Pekingese who doesn’t play fetch, run fast, or do anything but enjoy life.
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