WASHINGTON DC: The rise in US gasoline prices has brought benefits to consumer electronics marketers. Increasing numbers of home-owners are choosing to stay home with a new television set rather than spend cash on cruising in the car.

The Consumer Electronics Association suggests US shipments of goods such as flat-screen digital TVs will grow by 7.3%, to $173 billion (€109.8bn; £867m) this year.

The increase may allay the fears of some manufacturers who were concerned the collapse in the nation's housing market would shrink sales.

But as CEA president/ceo Gary Shapiro observes: "In a tough economy, consumers turn to consumer electronics products for many reasons, from entertaining in the home to telecommuting to save gas."

In addition, the impending digital signal switchover next February and the fall in prices of flat-screen TVs are fuelling demand.

The association says video gaming software shipments have also risen by 27% this year and revenues from smartphones are expected to grow by 51%.

Data sourced from Financial Times Online; additional content by WARC staff