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Electronics holiday buying: down but not out, Consumer Reports poll reports Electronics still the most-wanted gift category by Americans
The economic downturn has dampened plans to buy electronics items this holiday season compared to the last, according to a new Consumer Reports poll. Yet the poll, conducted by the Consumer Reports National Research Center, also finds electronics items remain the most wanted gift category by Americans, especially men, this holiday season.

Some 47 percent of survey respondents, a nationally representative sample of more than 1,000 adults reached by phone in mid-October, said they intended to buy electronics items this holiday season. That figure is down from 53 percent in last year's survey.

However, some 20 percent of respondents said they wanted to receive an electronics item as a gift this year, beating out all other categories. There is, however, a gender gap in that data, with nearly twice the proportion of men (26 percent) as women (14 percent) saying they wanted the gift of electronics.

As the bar chart at right shows (click on it for a closer look), the electronics item that experienced the biggest drop in buying intent—from 16 percent last year to 10 percent this year—was the most expensive one: flat-panel TV sets. Computers, both laptops and desktops, also experienced a sharp drop in buying intent. There was also a smaller, though significant, decline in the proportion of people who planned to buy a digital camera.

On the other hand, a larger proportion of people plan to buy video game systems this year, perhaps because prices have dropped for the X-Box 360 and Sony PlayStation 3 systems and the Nintendo Wii may be more widely available this holiday season than last. Also, the intent to buy many other items did not drop significantly. Those categories include iPods and other MP3 players, the most-planned electronics purchase for the holidays, with some 19 percent of people saying they expect to buy.

For more on our survey's findings about spending plans this holiday season, check out CR's Money blog by Tightwad Tod, our frugal shopping specialist.

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