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Electronic Toys And Reserach Techniques Focus Of Day Three At CEA’s Industry Forum


The growing electronic toy market and qualitative research techniques were among the hot topics discussed on the final day of the 2007 Consumer Electronics Association (CEA)® Industry Forum. Designed to inform, connect and educate consumer electronics professionals, industry analysts and media on the latest trends, technologies and legislation affecting the industry, the CEA Industry Forum concluded yesterday at the Hotel Del Coronado.

In Wednesday’s first session, “Beyond Segmentation: Profiling Your Customers for Maximum Sales and Profits,” Charles Dawson, CEO of Pi Market Research, provided attendees with a new level of insight into the attitudes and mindset behind consumers’ CE choices, and demonstrated his company’s research model, which examines a whole complex of attitudes that include consumer values, mindset, aspirations and aversions.

Tim Herbert, CEA senior director of market research and Reyne Rice, toy industry analyst at the Toy Industry Association presented the Wednesday morning session titled, “The Electronic Toy Market: Insight and Opportunities,” and unveiled a joint research study entitled, The Electronic Toy Market. Herbert told attendees that adults who purchase electronic toys recognize the value these toys, and other consumer electronics, provide to young children in the $1.6 billion electronic toy industry. Rice highlighted some of the newest electronic toys on the market, ranging from a musical toothbrush teaching children how long to brush their teeth, to kid-proof digital cameras. Herbert concluded by telling attendees, “Learning-type e-toys and gaming will help propel the market forward over the next 12 months.”

In the session, “Can You Ever Really Know Too Much About Your Customers,” panelists from the industry’s premier qualitative research companies discussed leading edge research methodologies. New methods that go beyond the traditional focus group include providing environments in which consumers enjoy giving feedback, and ultimately provide better and more useful information.

Wednesday morning’s panel, “Five on Five: Five Industry Experts Share their Thoughts on Five Key Trends,” moderated by Steve Koenig, CEA’s senior market research manager, explored issues and trends that are facing and driving the consumer electronics industry. The panelists discussed five key trends: what are the biggest business issues facing the CE industry and how to tackle them; what will the retail environment look like tomorrow; where do opportunities lie in the content area; what opportunities and challenges does connectivity present to our industry, and are CE products playing a supporting role to services and content.

“Fine-Tuning Your Research Practices,” held Wednesday afternoon, offered tips on how to develop research that more effectively designs, prices and promotes CE products. Gina Woodall, of eBrain Market Research, noted the unique aspects of the CE industry, which include innovative products, as well as innovative consumers, and technically complex products in an environment where ease of use drives success.

During the final afternoon session, “State of CE Retail,” Shawn DuBravac, CFA, economist, CEA and Ken Eisner, vice president of marketing and sales, discussed the current state of retailing online. They illustrated how the online marketplace continues to drive the online and offline consumer purchasing experience. They also highlighted the importance of direct to consumer pipelines. Eisner warned of the need to be pragmatic when exploring these new online options, but advised manufacturers and retailers to at least play a part of the influential online conversation.


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