Summer of CE
Last month the CE industry pulled off a significant first with the launch of Digital Downtown. With partners CEA and Martin Porter Associates, we hosted Digital Downtown in Lower Manhattan’s World Financial Center. This mostly consumer event took place in the prestigious Winter Garden, the heart of New York’s financial district. It brought together more than 25 of the industry’s best manufacturers along with dealers like Best Buy and New York’s J & R and B & H.
For three days, thousands of consumers enjoyed the opportunity to see, hear and interact with products and people from the best brands in the world. The event began with a day of information sessions and an inspiring keynote by J & R’s Rachelle Friedman followed by panel discussions and presentations by CEA and industry leaders in the American Express building. A few companies—Monster, Hitachi and LG—even made significant product announcements at the event.
Below in the Winter Garden and plazas, consumers wandered amid product exhibits like a mini CES. Even outside in the hot sun visitors congregated at the mobile exhibits by Pioneer, Best Buy and Sharp. We could tell from the smiles and enthusiasm that the ability to get hands-on with products really made everyone’s day, and I’m sure it helped them along the way toward investing in technology for themselves. Even in these strained economic times, the CE industry generates a lot of interest. Digital Downtown was proof of that, as many vendors reported that visitors specifically asked where they could purchase the products they saw at the exhibits. Electronics continues to be a strong point in the economy. CEA’s Gary Shapiro noted that CE expects to grow 6 percent this year, while other industries are in decline. We’ve got a lot going for us this year: the DTV transition; increased broadband penetration, new mobile technologies and a thriving accessory market. That’s great news for the CE industry, and Digital Downtown was a great way to kick off a summer of CE.