A lot of companies have been caught off guard by changes in our spending choices this year. Americans eager to travel and party after two years of staying largely at home are gorging on plane tickets and fancier clothes — and ignoring the patio furniture and soft pants that we splurged on in 2020.
Consumer electronics may be the flaming center of Americans’ flip-flopping shopping habits. Gadget buying has suddenly switched from hot to not, a change that will most likely bring pain and confusion for many companies — and potentially some great deals for people who still want to buy electronics.
In the early months of the pandemic, many of us were so eager to buy internet routers, laptops, video game consoles and other tech gear to keep us productive and cozy from home that some products were impossible to find. However, experts cautioned that people would inevitably pull back on buying some types of gadgets until they needed them again.
The magnitude of change after two flush years of gadget purchases has surprised many people. From January through May, electronics and appliance stores make up the only retail category for which sales fell compared with the same five months of 2021, the Commerce Department disclosed last week. Best Buy said last month that purchases at its stores dropped across the board, especially for computers and home entertainment, and are likely to stay meh. And the research firm IDC expects global smartphone sales to decline this year, most sharply in China.