POSTED: 1:30 a.m. HST, Dec 12, 2010
Yes, it's time for our annual Christmas column. If you're trying to figure out the right gift purchase for that special someone, stay close to home, says Denise Lint, store team leader for Target, the big mainland retailer that set up shop in Hawaii last year.
Lint, who has been following the trends for consumer electronics in the Aloha State, says that people are in a nesting mode this holiday season. "People are going out less," she said, "and they want to spend more time with kids," particularly to help with educational pursuits.
"DVDs are very hot," says Lint, especially those for children. Titles from the "Baby Einstein" and "Little Big Planet" series, Xbox games and Wii games are all popular. In addition to the software, associated hardware such as the Nintendo DSi game system ($113), the Kinect Sensor and Kinect Adventures game bundle ($149.99, or $299.99 bundled with a 4 GB Xbox 360), PlayStation Eye Camera ($39.99) and PlayStation Move Motion Controller ($49.99) are also showing strong sales, she says.
Part and parcel with brisk DVD sales is an increased interest in DVD players, according to Lint. The Sony Blu-ray wireless ($201) is popular, as is the reasonably priced Memorex progressive scan DVD player for $32.99.
In addition to hardware and software for the home, Lint noted that mobile device sales are going through the roof. Among the most popular items are the Apple iPad 16 GB model ($499.99) and the Amazon Kindle Wi-Fi + 3G ($189.99).
Tim Bajarin, a Silicon Valley analyst with longtime ties to Hawaii, says there's a good reason why the iPad is the top choice. Even with similar Android devices coming out, he says, iPad has great functionality so that you can watch TV, movies or browse the Web. "It taps into an ecosystem of 50,000 applications, which adds to its utility."
Bajarin says the No. 2 choice of consumers is smart phones. The iPhone leads the pack, but Android phones, such as Motorola's Droid, RIM's BlackBerry and the Windows mobile phone, are also popular.
The No. 3 choice this Christmas is MP3 players, with Apple's iPod Touch the most sought after in that space, he said.
E-books are the No. 4 pick this holiday, according to Bajarin, with Amazon's Kindle, Barnes & Noble's Nook and the Sony Digital e-reader leading the pack. He likes the Kindle best but is intrigued by the Barnes & Noble NOOKcolor at $249.
The No. 5 slot is bargain-priced laptops. Bajarin says there are some great notebooks under $500 from Toshiba, Acer, HP and other manufacturers.
This year there's no shortage of cool gifts, but be wise because you just might have to dig a little deeper into your pocket.
Cliff Miyake, general manager in Honolulu for tw telecom, can be reached at Cliff. Miyake@twtelecom.com.