High-tech Christmas coming

A slew of new gadgets and software from the likes of Apple, Google and Microsoft – will find a prominent place on the Christmas list of many Australians.

The imminent release of Microsoft’s Windows 8 operating system, its new ‘Surface’ tablet, Google’s new Chromebook laptop and Apple’s iPad Mini, should have some of our retailers rubbing their hands with glee. Combine that with the recent cut in interest rates and more cuts expected, and the future certainly looks brighter.

The new products come at the perfect time, just before Christmas, which should see sales boom as consumers may be more inclined to open their wallets. JB Hi-Fi Limited (ASX: JBH) and Harvey Norman Holdings (ASX: HVN), David Jones Limited (ASX: DJS) and Myer Holdings Limited (ASX: MYR), will all be gearing up for the new products.

Harvey Norman’s Alexandria, Sydney store, is expected to trade past midnight on Thursday night, and chief, Gerry Harvey, is expected to sell the very first copy of Windows 8 at 12.01 am this Friday morning.

This comes on top of the recent release of Apple’s newest iPhone, which saw record sales, and is likely to be increasing sales of accessories for the smart phone. Telstra Limited (ASX: TLS) has already announced that it had sold more than 100,000 iPhone 5s since the phone’s release.

Meanwhile, Apple is expected to announce a new 7 inch iPad mini on Wednesday, while Google is holding a launch event next week, and is expected to announce a new phone, tablet and operating system, as well as the availability of its new US$249 Google Chromebook laptop.

As consumers face higher utility bills and higher petrol prices, the recent cut in interest rates should help them find some extra funds in the lead up to Christmas. That should also give our retailers a shot in the arm, many of whom were facing a bleak Christmas. Shoppers know they have the upper hand and expect retailers to give discounts – otherwise they can simply walk out of the shop and buy the product cheaper, online.

The Foolish bottom line

We may see a report of quarterly sales from Harvey Norman within the next week or so, which would give us a good indication of how sales of consumer electronics goods are tracking.

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More reading

Motley Fool writer/analyst Mike King owns shares in David Jones and JB Hi-Fi. The Motley Fool’s purpose is to help the world invest, better. Take Stock is The Motley Fool’s free investing newsletter. Packed with stock ideas and investing advice, it is essential reading for anyone looking to build and grow their wealth in the years ahead. Click here now to request your free subscription, whilst it’s still available. This article contains general investment advice only (under AFSL 400691). Authorised by Bruce Jackson.

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