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Consumers’ appetite for technology grows but confidence in economy weakens

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Consumers’ interest in buying technology has reached its highest level of the year, but their confidence in the economy has dropped to an all-time low, according to an Arlington-based trade group.

Consumer Electronics Association says consumer sentiment around technology increased nearly two points in November. The CEA Index of Consumer Technology Expectations (ICTE) rose to 91.2, its highest level since December 2010. The ICTE, which measures consumer expectations for technology spending, is also up nearly 12 points from this time last year.

Shawn DuBravac, CEA’s chief economist and director of research, said the findings were reflected in the strongest monthly gains for electronics and appliance retail sales since November 2009.

While consumer interest in technology is high, consumer confidence in the overall economy is dropping. The CEA Index of Consumer Expectations (ICE) fell to 156.6 in November, down three points from last month and the lowest level since the index began in 2007. The ICE, which measures consumer expectations about the broader economy, is down more than 10 points from this time last year.

“The super committee’s inability to come to a debt reduction compromise in Washington is clearly impacting sentiment across the country,” DuBravac said in a statement. “Consumers remain uncertain about the near-term and long-term viability of the U.S. economy.”

The ICE and ICTE are updated monthly through consumer surveys. CEA has been tracking index data since January 2007.

The CEA has more than 2,000 company members.

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