In a report released Thursday, IBM predicted that sales of consumer electronics and appliances will total $10.164 billion in November -- a 4% increase over December of 2009. December sales are predicted to also jump 4%. IBM, which bases its report on 19 years of historical data and its analytics software, claims its forecasts are 99% accurate.
"The forecast indicates that retailers should be ready for a robust Black Friday and Cyber Monday," said IBM's Michael Haydock in a statement, referring to the Friday and Monday after Thanksgiving. "Retailers that staff up and stock up for November and invest in advertising are likely to have a substantial advantage in the marketplace." Haydock, who is Global Business services partner and IBM retail analytics leader, noted that the firm's predictive techniques are used by IBM to help clients improve supply and demand issues.
Noting that disposable income and household savings are up, according to U.S. Commerce Department statistics, Haydock indicated pent-up consumer demand may help drive up sales.
Meanwhile, The Bedford Report analysis observed that catalogue and TV retailers are using smartphones to develop mobile phone shopping apps.
"Competition and price reductions are unavoidable," according to the Bedford Report analysis, "in the industry as consumers use the Internet to quickly find and conduct research about items at attractive prices. It is the nature of the industry -- while the convenience of the Internet drives sales - it also drives prices down."