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The Era of Personal Entertainment

30 Dec, 2005 By: Jessica Wolf

I did a little post-Christmas shopping this year. Just a little. I'm not the world's most patient shopper at any time of the year so I usually try to avoid the insane seasons.

BUt this year, my much more shopping-evolved sister convinced me we should hit up at least a few after-Christmas sales.

"As long as we get out there early, we'll be OK," she said.

She was right. One behemoth Target trip and a slightly quicker sweep through a large Phoenix mall later, we were a little poorer, laden with bags, but not completely wiped out physically emotionally or financially.

I noticed a few things as we wound and wove our way through the other brave and sometimes cutthroat hordes similarly intent on capitalizing upon the day-after-Christmas sales we saw in the Sunday paper.

Those weekly advertisements were peppered with deals and promotions for game software, electronics accessories and, of course, DVDs. These sections were the busiest at many of the locations we navigated.

But there were TONS of people scouring iPod accessory aisles. The Target we visited was literally wiped out of every style of the scalding-hot gift and the store's stock of companion car adapters, speaker systems and other iPod accoutrements was quickly depleting as well.

I also bumped elbows (literally) with a large crew of shoppers in the satellite radio aisles. Lots of blank spots in the accessory supply here too.

It struck me that this all spells something for the New Year, something not wholly unexpected. The consumer is still very much invested in the home entertainment industry — it's just become more of the "personal" entertainment industry, judging by the myriad ways these holiday shoppers were seeking to individualize their gifts and spend their Christmas money.

The word "home" doesn't quite do the market justice anymore. And for us truly to do the market justice we have to start thinking of "home" entertainment as really "personal" entertainment.

"Personal" encompasses portability, accessibility, variety, quantity — all these things have become increasingly important to we the "home" entertainment consumer.

We who also serve the home entertainment industry have to be on board with that in a big way this year, or get elbowed out.

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