Santa’s Coming!

12/22/2006 12:00 am EST


Tobin Smith

Founder and Chief Research Analyst, Transformity Research LLC

Just in time for the holidays, veteran trend analyzer Tobin Smith has some good news for electronics' lovers, as well as the retailers who supply them: Santa's bag is packed to the hilt with new gadgets.

" According to the latest Alliance Holiday Spending Survey, conducted in November, Americans will find more presents under their tree this year than last-and lots of those presents will be consumer electronic devices. Surging demand for digital cameras, iPods, laptops, and high definition TVs (HDTV) tops the list of "must have" goodies this holiday season.

"SanDisk (SNDK NASDAQ) sells flash memory storage used in a wide variety of consumer electronic devices. As the use of handheld devices continues its explosive growth, and as digital home entertainment systems continue to sell faster than the boys at Best Buy and Circuit City can stock them, the need for huge amounts of memory storage is at an all-time high. Digital cameras, MP3 players, smart phones, video game consoles, set-top boxes, etc., are now capable of performing multiple tasks, and that multi-tasking only stimulates the demand for storage. And the introduction of the new Vista operating system will require a big memory upgrade.

"In our recent ChangeWave Alliance Holiday Spending survey, we told you that one of the hottest items this year is going to be digital cameras. Well, this is great news for SanDisk, as those digital cameras need memory cards, and the overwhelming leader in the memory card market is SanDisk.

"HDTV is really going to be a top "buy-for-yourself " gift this holiday season. The recent release of the new HDMI 1.3 chip from Silicon Image (SIMG NASDAQ GS) greatly enhances the HDTV experience, and SIMG is the first company to come out with this game-changing technology.

"HDMI connections are essential to getting HDTV to that new flat-screen or plasma set. Manufacturers have been waiting to employ HDMI 1.3 connections in their systems, which will allow them to upgrade to real 1080p high-def equipment. The 1080p is the Holy Grail of high-def products, and the 1.3 spec more than doubles HDMI bandwidth, broadens the color palette (from millions of colors to billions), and makes new digital audio formats accessible.

"Ever since the Alliance deemed 2006 "The Year of HDTV" back in February 2005, we have been watching consumer adoption rates for this technology. In our September Consumer Spending survey, almost a quarter of respondents (23%) said they planned on adding HDTV service during the next six months-a huge six-point jump in just three months."

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