Kevin Janco

Batteries and the bottom line By Natalie Hope McDonald It's a fairly simple equation: The more portable electronics products consumers buy, the more batteries are sold. And those portable electronics products have been enjoying an upsurge in popularity lately so it's not surprising that according to 2003 AC Nielsen Panel Data, the dollar sales of lithium AA batteries grew 25 percent in 2003. To answer the call for more power, the usual suspects have all introduced bigger, juicier batteries with the promise of longer life spans. Lesser-known manufacturers are also getting out there. For instance, Electric Fuel, a newcomer on the market, has made its debut with

Chargers deserve a sales pitch of their own. High-drain devices and advanced battery chemistries are redefining the trade-off between the convenience of disposables and the savings delivered by rechargeables. Less of a factor now in the U.S. market than in Europe, environmental issues on disposable batteries may eventually become more of an issue. Wireless phones—cellular and PCS—comprise the fastest-growing battery and charger segment, with phone users quick to recognize the benefits. Round cells, now including NiMH, NiCad, some lithium and rechargeable alkalines, are the bigger question mark now in terms of the potential for charger sales. But several manufacturers are addressing this segment, with

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