Halloween might be in the air, but while consumers are busy getting their costume and party plans in order for the next two weeks, retailers and investors already are thinking long past pumpkins and candy corn and toward wreaths and reindeer. The holiday sales gauntlet is starting, and businesses of every stripe need consumers to open their wallets and spend at the end of 2011 more than ever.
The Commerce Department announced in August that consumer spending slipped 0.2% over the second quarter of the year — the first decline since the third quarter of 2009. The dip spurred economists to lower predictions for the back half of the year, expecting growth of just 2.5% over 2010 where they were expecting 3% before. So what is going to get people spending this holiday season?
The same thing that gets them spending every year: technology. In 2010, the hit gadgets of the fourth quarter were Apple‘s (NASDAQ:AAPL) iPad (7.3 million sold) and Microsoft‘s (NASDAQ:MSFT) Kinect (8 million sold) — two toys that found success among every stripe of consumer. But who is going to replicate those successes this year? Here are what should be the five best-selling gadgets and games of the 2011 holiday season: