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CEA's Industry Forum Leads with Holiday and Political Forecasts
Oct 20, 2006
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Hundreds of executives from the consumer electronics industry helped kick off day one of the Consumer Electronics Association's (CEA) 2006 Industry Forum in San Francisco on Oct. 16. Designed to inform, connect and educate consumer electronics professionals, industry analysts and media on the latest trends, technologies and legislation affecting the industry, the CEA Industry Forum ran through Wednesday Oct. 18 at the Fairmont San Francisco Hotel.

Sean Wargo, CEA director of Industry Analysis, and Shawn DuBravac, CFA and CEA economist, launched the event's official program with a popular presentation on holiday sales and forecasts. DuBravac gave an economic outlook that detailed many constraints facing consumers today, but stressed that despite some of those constraints, it will not hurt consumer spending.

Wargo announced that consumer electronics gifts will account for U.S. $21 billion in 2006 holiday spending, which is up from $17 billion last year. The 13th Annual CE Holiday Purchase Patterns Survey tracks the consumer electronics devices consumers intend to give as gifts, as well as those they hope to receive. For the second year in a row, MP3 players ranked as the most desired gifts to receive; digital cameras were the number one item most likely to be given.

ESPN HD sponsored Monday's keynote luncheon that featured reporter and journalist, Ronald Brownstein, who captivated attendees with an insider's look at the current political landscape. Brownstein, a national political correspondent for the Los Angeles Times and political analyst for CNN said, "The country is in the biggest shake-up since 1994."

Brownstein explained that the trend right now is that politics are not based on issues, but rather on values. In the past, the two parties were more evenly balanced. Today the states are split along red and blue lines. He talked about President Bush's ability to successfully define his political strategy and then deepen, not broaden it. The downside is that no consensus is reached and because of this, there are competing spheres of influence that are intensely polarized. Brownstein noted that the competition between parties is unprecedented with just three weeks until Election Day. He also spoke about the political awareness pre-911, post-911 and post, post-911. His prediction: "In 2008 there will be a lot of candidates trying to work across party lines," and said, "I am struck by how many candidates are already starting to do this."

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