Even for Car Audio, High Consumer Confidence Could Mean Upbeat Christmas

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Research by the Consumer Electronics Association (CEA) found that confidence to spend on technology actually reached its highest level for any September since the CEA began collecting information in 2007.

CEAConsumer confidence in technology also reached its highest level of the year in September, rising almost 5 points, offering hope for a strong Christmas selling season, even in car audio, according to some industry members.

“This month’s measure of sentiment is at levels typically only seen during the height of the holiday buying season, an indication that consumers are likely to buy and spend more on tech in the weeks ahead,” said Shawn DuBravac, CEA’s Chief Economist and Senior Director of Research.  “There were several key high-tech product announcements this month which served as an important catalyst for tech buying heading into the fourth quarter and the holiday shopping season.”

Sony expects the boost in consumer confidence will spill over to car audio.  Business Manager for Mobile Taka Noguchi.said, “Given the recent climb in consumer confidence, consumers’ strong willingness to shop during the holiday season is highly expected including in the car audio business, especially with the rapid demand growth of in-car smartphone connectivity.”

Kenwood is cautiously optimistic and noted there has been a lot of publicity about in-car technology in the media this year, which has given the aftermarket a boost in consumer awareness. “I would even go as far as to say that in-car electronics has undergone huge consumer awareness this year,” said Senior VP Consumer Electronics Keith Lehmann.

Both car audio buying/marketing groups, In Car Experts (ICE) and Mobile Electronics Specialists of America (MESA) are bullish on the upcoming season.

ICE said its outlook for the holiday is better than last year and its retail members’ purchasing is “showing confidence,” according to Executive Director Rob Elliott.

MESA said it expects a “very good Q4.”  Its members are already ahead for the year.  Executive Director Ryan Gunter said 90 percent of members are up this year and 46 percent of those are up over 10 percent over last year.  “We are tracking very well for the year with our vendor partners and we are looking forward to a very good Q4.”

The CEA also announced that consumer confidence in the overall economy rose 3.5 points in September over August, to reach a level 15.4 points higher than this time last year.

“Despite rising gas prices, uncertainties overseas, domestic elections and the slow recovery of the U.S. economy, an improved stock market and an increase in housing prices has consumers feeling more confident about their financial future,” said DuBravac. “The wealth effects are real and will help consumers feel as if they are on firmer ground financially.”

The CEA publishes indexes for confidence in technology and the overall economy (ICE and ICTE), which are updated on a monthly basis through consumer surveys.

For more information visit CEAindexes.org.

Some other good news this week:

5 million manufacturing jobs will return to the U.S. in the next decade 

Home prices kept rising in 20 major cities in July, with fewer foreclosures 

Source: CEA, CEoutlook

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