Gadget frenzy is thriving in the US. The queues leading up to the release of the iPhone certainly attest to this.
New products, falling prices and increased capabilities have made the global consumer electronics market almost impervious to economic ups and downs.
But when it comes to the “digital home” – a network of consumer electronics, mobile and PC devices allowing for seamless interoperability – consumers are dubious at best.
Skepticism about ease of use, integration and hidden costs are keeping many would-be buyers on the sidelines according to eMarketer’s report, “Consumer Electronics Online: Converged or Confused?”
For consumer electronics in particular, the Internet is by far the preferred source of information. Not surprisingly, consumer electronics marketers are well ahead of the pack when it comes to online advertising.
They spent $1.9 billion online in 2006, or 13.7 per cent of their ad budgets, according to eMarketer. The average US company, meanwhile, spent only 5.9 per cent online.
Yet the industry may not be using the medium effectively to educate consumers.
According to Deloitte, more than half of the consumer electronics devices returned to stores last year were in working condition and the average consumer spent just 20 minutes trying to set up a new device before giving up.
Emerging tactics such as microsites, blogs and viral marketing are already integral parts of online campaigns in the consumer electronics industry.
Though they may be ahead of their peers, “trying for cool and edgy online brings risks,” says Lisa Phillips, senior analyst and author of the report.
“Sony, for example, is still feeling the backlash among bloggers who last December exposed its alliwantforxmasisaPSP.com site as a fake blog created by an agency.”
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