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A look back and ahead in CE category

The annual consumer electronics extravaganza known as CES gets underway in Las Vegas today, and in conjunction with the show’s kick off Market Research Solutions (MRS) is out with a new report that provides some unconventional insights into the 2011 holiday season and outlook for 2012.

The Tampa, Fla.-based research firm surveyed 272 department managers in early December at such retailers as Target, Walmart, Best Buy, Hhgregg and dominant regional players to gain a unique perspective on a category of business that is the most dynamic in retail. Among some of the key findings MRS provided exclusively to RetailingToday.com were:

  • The CE category started off strong with 61% of store managers surveyed indicating sales were higher than compared with the prior year and store traffic was higher than the prior year.

  • Brands are a big deal in the CE category. Apple was the brand most in demand during holiday 2011 – no surprise there – followed by Samsung, Sony, Vizio and Microsoft.

  • Tablets was the hottest category of 2011 and managers expect that to be the case again in 2012. Attachment rates for extended warranties were also strong.

  • Merchants and supply chain executives did a good job of accurately forecasting demand and replenishing merchandise after Thanksgiving weekend as three fourth of respondent reported inventory levels commensurate with demand.

In contrast to conventional consumer surveys, which are inherently flawed because shoppers are not always reliable predictors of their own behavior and also have poor recall of their actions, MRS seeks to understand the dynamics of the CE category from a different vantage point. By speaking with the department managers on the front lines of taking care of customers the data compiled by MRS offers a unique perspective of which Retailing Today was provided only a sampling. Quality information generated by original research is an expensive proposition so MRS is charging a nominal fee of $199 for the full report which is available by clicking here