Technology Spending

November 26, 2014
Consumer confidence toward technology spending surged in November ahead of Black Friday and the peak holiday shopping season, according to the latest data released by the Consumer Electronics Association (CEA)®. Consumer sentiment toward the overall economy decreased slightly in November, but remains higher than last year. The CEA Index of Consumer Technology Expectations (ICTE), which measures consumer expectations about technology spending, jumped 7.3 points in November to reach 94.3. The November 2014 index is 1.6 points above that of November 2013. “Strong sentiment toward technology spending this month suggests tech will perform well during the year’s biggest...

Breaking the Product Return Cycle

November 25, 2014
We’ve all been there. We buy a technology product, take it home and things just don’t work out. So we return the device—usually to the retailer where we bought it or the manufacturer who made it. Consumers have a litany of good reasons for returning CE products after purchase; but the industry can’t afford to ignore this alternative universe of sales known as reverse logistics. In fact, product returns is serious business that represents anywhere from five percent to 15 percent of the bottom line. Having the right strategy is crucial for manufacturers and retailers alike. But in order to develop an equitable return policy and effectively cope with the product that...

Unleashing the Streaming Money Channel

November 21, 2014
On the topic of monetizing online video, two media moguls uttered several words during the recent Goldman Sachs “Communicopia” conference, which could overhaul the revenue model for streaming video and for the media world. The topic was streaming premium cable networks directly to consumers as a subscription service without viewers having to sign up for cable or satellite TV. The chairmen and CEOs of two giant media companies revealed that they were considering it, without committing to any details. Jeff Bewkes of Time Warner, which owns HBO, said “the broadband-only opportunity up until now wasn’t [viable.]” While Les Moonves of CBS, which owns Showtime...

Is Facebook Your Competitive Weapon of Choice?

November 18, 2014
I am often asked for guiding principles to muscle up a company’s sales, marketing and brand offense smartly designed to polarize competitors off their game; forcing them into a bulwark posture of market defense. Easy words to articulate, but in fact rather complicated to business comport based upon so many varying company brand, product, manufacturing, advertising, channel, pricing and market share dynamics. Since your brand is your promise—and no brand stands competitively alone—your sales and brand offense should articulate your proud advantages. In essence, the value of your brand means...

2014 CE Hall of Fame: Walter Mossberg

October 21, 2014
(1947- )Technology Reporter, The Wall Street Journal   Frenemies Steve Job and Bill Gates didn’t make public appearances together. When Microsoft made its famously unexpected $150 million investment in the revived Apple in 1997, Bill Gates showed up at MacWorld via satellite feed rather than live. But after phone call to each of the two pillars of personal computing from Wall Street Journal tech columnist Walt Mossberg, both appeared on stage together for a now legendary joint interview at his fifth All Things Digital 5 conference in May 2007.   Declared by The Washington Post as “one of the most powerful men in the high-tech world” and “a one-man...

HBO Announces Stand-Alone Service

October 17, 2014
HBO recently announced that it will offer an online streaming video service that will not require consumers to have a separate cable subscription. In the past, HBO GO was an additional service for consumers who already had a subscription to HBO through cable, satellite or other, but now they are cutting the cord. HBO Chairman and CEO Richard Pleper announced that this service will begin in 2015 and described it as “a stand-alone, over-the-top, HBO service.” This announcement blossomed from the rise in popularity of Netflix, Amazon Prime, Hulu and over-the-top (OTT) content. In order to compete with these services, HBO decided to expand its service. Not long after HBO...

2014 CE Hall of Fame: Gerald M. “Jerry” McCarthy

October 14, 2014
It probably surprised a lot of people – especially his Jewish customers – but Jerry McCarthy, the son of an Irish immigrant, spoke and understood a little Yiddish. It probably also surprised a lot of people that McCarthy modestly describes himself merely as a “peddler.” But McCarthy was more than just a peddler or a gifted linguist; he was instrumental in launching some of the industry’s most innovative products during his 30-year career at Zenith and helped radically alter the ways consumer electronics products were distributed and sold.   A native of Chicago, McCarthy was born June 13, 1941, and got into sales as soon as he discovered how much he...

What Is Driving Gaming?

October 10, 2014
The eighth generation of video game consoles promises to drive sales through the 2014 holiday season. CEA takes an in-depth look at trends in the gaming industry in the recent study The Future of Gaming. While video game consoles continue to be the most popular option among gamers, the growing popularity of gaming on mobile devices is an area to watch. With smartphone and tablet ownership at their highest rates, they are fast becoming the gaming devices of choice for many consumers.          

Video Games: Power-Up for Retailer Profits

October 10, 2014
Video games are a perennial consumer favorite for holiday tech gifts and a much anticipated power-up for retailer traffic and revenues. Noticeably, the new eighth-generation console platforms lifted annual shipment revenues 16.4 percent to nearly $17 billion last year, according to CEA. This opened an exciting new chapter in the CE market; not only for consumer entertainment, but an opportunity for CE retailers and manufacturers alike. However, 2014 has brought disruption to the gaming sector. Witness the new crop of digital media set-top boxes like Amazon Fire TV and Google’s coming Android ...
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