I had the occasion to exchange correspondence with Vipin Jain, CEO of Sunnyvale, Cali.-based Retrevo, a site and search engine that helps consumers buy and use electronics. Here at ZDNet, we've explained what we thinkwill happen in 2009, and I thought I'd add Vipin's outlook for some of ZDNet's most popular products to the mix:
Home Theater Systems
"Home Theater Systems (Home Theater in a Box) saw strong demand throughout the holiday shopping season, while prices remained relatively stable. You can buy a good Sony, Yamaha or Onkyo HTS that includes a receiver, 5 speaker system and a subwoofer with ample power for under $400 now. Expect to see more integration of hi-def (720p/1080p) into these affordable systems for mass market consumers at CES and into 2009."
"Cell Phones will have a challenging time ahead. We saw prices as well as demand decline in later half of 2008 while smart phones maintained some momentum. Expect a 10% or more decline in cell phone sales in 2009. We have reached saturation and there is nothing revolutionary on the horizon that will make people want to upgrade. Yes, we will see bug fixes and incremental innovation (more navigation SW, wi-fi, more touch screen phones etc) but 2009 will be a challenging year for cell phones."
"Laptops saw a very strong demand through most of 2008 and there was no significant price pressure. This bodes well for Apple, Lenovo and HP. Netbooks seems to be a sub-category that is picking up momentum. You can get a good netbook for under $400. Asus is a clear leader in this sub-category. Expect slimmer, better and cheaper netbook computers from tier-2 brands at CES and through 2009 that will put pressure on traditional laptop brands to compete. Consumers will benefit from more functional, portable, energy efficient, lighter and cheaper computers."
"Prices for camcorders have been dropping since late November, which has been a key driver for high demand in November / December. 2009 will be a good year for camcorders as more 1080p capable, lighter, slimmer and cheaper camcorders make it to the market at CES and in 2009 (from Sony, Canon among other brands). Expect a good hi-def camcorder for under $700 in 2009 (from ~$1,000 now). Longer term outlook for camcorders is uncertain as this category will probably be eaten up by higher end digital cameras."
"Digital Cameras demand was very weak from summer until mid Nov when it picked up significantly. Point & Shoot cameras are doing very well in unit volume while DSLR cameras are keeping up in dollar value. Expect lot of DSLR and some point and shoot cameras at CES that will record 24/30 fps videos. More video recording capability, wi-fi (and automatic transfer of pictures from your camera to computer or online services) and downward migration of DSLR features will keep a strong interest in this category at CES and in 2009."
"HDTV demand (both unit volume and dollar value) was very strong in 2008 (despite 35% drop in ASPs in 2008 alone). 2009 will be a year of flatter (less than 1”), better (120 Hz refresh rate on LCD HDTVs) and cheaper HDTVs (50” HDTV for less than $800). Expect 36” or even 40” OLED TV on display at CES from Sony or Samsung (though the production will still be a few years out)."
GPS, MP3 Players & Desktops
"2009 will be brutal for these categories and they will experience significant decline."