Electronics sales have surged in the US, but what to expect during the big day?
article Retailers are starting to roll out deals at Black Thursday in the United States and online retailers are starting their annual sales in earnest, giving shoppers a window into the holiday season.
Read more: What to buy during Black Friday: Retailers start to roll them out, online retailers start to sell them out article Electronics items sales are set to top $US1.8 trillion ($2.1 trillion) in the first quarter of next year, up from $US2.3 trillion ($3.6 trillion) a year earlier.
The surge comes as US consumers have turned their attention to spending in the wake of the Great Recession and the election of Donald Trump as president.
“We’re now seeing an extraordinary spike in electronics purchases,” said Stephen McArthur, chief executive of consumer electronics retailer Lowe’s.
“It’s all driven by consumers wanting to spend,” he said.
The number of electronic items sold by the US retailer was up 3 per cent in the second quarter of 2018, while it was up 14 per cent a year ago.
“The retail environment is changing, with a new economy coming into play,” said David Kostelanetz, a research analyst at Jefferies in New York.
“That’s created a very strong consumer demand for electronics and we’re seeing an unprecedented demand from the US for electronics at Black Fridays.”
Lowe’s was the first major retailer to start selling electronics at its Black Friday event in May and has since added a range of other gadgets, including a wireless speaker and a camera, to its annual sale.
A major trend in the electronics industry is the proliferation of gadgets in the homes of many consumers, with smartwatches and fitness trackers gaining popularity, and smart locks and alarm systems gaining more attention.
Lowes has seen sales of a range in its electronic products department since the election, from a new smart TV to a $100 smart watch.
The company’s electronics products division was valued at $US4.4 billion in the past 12 months, according to the company’s latest annual report.
“Lowes continues to offer our customers a wide range of innovative products, including smart home products, smart home accessories, smart wearables, smart lights, smart TVs, and more,” said Lowe’s chief financial officer, John Fink.
In November, Lowe’s introduced a new range of smart watches and fitness devices called the Smart Watch 2.
But the most recent data shows sales of the smartwatch fell by 10 per cent to $US949 million.
The Smart Watch 3 is expected to go on sale in March.
Walmart has also announced that its stores will offer electronics deals on Black Friday, and in a statement Walmart said it has seen “a strong consumer response” to the sales.
While retailers are taking a closer look at their products and their potential customers, there is little that retailers can do to prevent the influx of electronics that shoppers are buying.
“There’s no way for retailers to control electronics sales,” said Kostelaetz.
“Retailers are just not equipped to predict what is going to happen in a Black Friday environment,” he added.
“You’re going to see a surge of sales for electronics, but you can’t control it.”
The US consumer is also taking note of the rising demand for gadgets.
According to research firm Gartner, consumers spent $US3.1 billion on electronics last year, with $US5.3 billion of that spending on “smart” items.
Gartner has estimated that the average US consumer spends $US35 per year on electronics. More: