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Trends 2011: Big in retail

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Randy Fry, president and co-founder of Fry’s Electronicsand executive board chairman of the Consumer Electronics Association (CEA) in the USA, gives a question and answer session on the biggest technology trends in retail for 2011.

What do you think will be the most significant technology trend at retail for 2011?

No doubt that 4G will have a tremendous affect on consumers’ lives in 2011. Smartphones and tablets will be the big winners. 3D television will gain significant momentum next year as Blu-ray and television content becomes more readily available. We will see new active glasses technology in second-generation 3DTVs that will help improve consumer adoption. Internet TV will make great strides as browsers, Internet TV boxes and network digital storage devices compete for this “ready to go”” market. We will see a significant shift of reliance to “”the cloud”” being driven by tablet devices in favor of traditional notebooks. Collaboration in the workforce will also become a factor in the growth of the cloud. The consumer-electronics industry continues to deliver to our consumers: “”What they want, when they want it, where they want it and on the device of their immediate choice.”” What is the CE retail industry’s greatest challenge? Opportunity?

The Internet has forever changed the way that consumers receive information and react to market conditions. A product’s value and/or where to buy it can change in a matter of seconds. Given the fragile market conditions of the Internet, we as an industry must adopt sound and ethical principles for marketing our products. Most important is the unified approach of bringing new products to market. Our consumers fully expect that manufacturers roll out their new product introductions to all retailers (partners) simultaneously. Exclusive product roll outs simply ignore the consumer’s needs by destroying their loyalty to the retailer they depend on. Manufacturers must make their marketing decisions in favor of what is best for the long-term health of their brand and our industry. Not for the misguided purpose of reducing competition. What will the popular product categories be next year?

In units, smartphones and tablets will be the winners. In spite of the normal decline of current technology ASPs, continued innovation of notebooks and flat-panel TVs will continue to drive the dollars. Video gaming will remain very strong for 2011 with the first 3D hand-held set to be introduced by Nintendo. Microsoft’s Kinect has brought to market an exciting “”game-changing”” technology, although it remains to be seen, if we will be able to dance safely with 3D glasses on.

· Article courtesy CEASMartBrief

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