Analysts knew it would be bad, but not this bad. Retail sales this year are down 5.5% in November and 8% in December overall, but electronics specifically fell by an astounding 27%.
Consumer electronics are always hit harder than average in tight times, but massive drop confirms what my various visits at barely-busy big box retailers led me to suspect. But what else can we find in this data? And is it really as bad as it looks?
First of all, the category that fell by 27% is titled “Electronics/Appliances”, so it’s possible that things are OK in Gadgetland, and pure carnage in Whirlpoolville. But probably not. Second, the data shows a inverse correlation between a drop in sales and utility. This isn’t to say that gadgets are superfluous luxury items—you won’t hear that here—but rather that the other categories like, you know, shoes, contain products that probably take priority over USB humping dogs and Monster cables.
Oh well. Expect to hear plenty more about these numbers when Q4 earnings reports start trickling out, like tears of disappointment onto so many plimsolls. [WSJ]