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Read this article today...Expect to pay more for less. I'm sure this won't only affect electronics since labor laws are being restructured. More reason to buy American (or Canadian or whatever you are).

http://www.twice.com/blog/150000215/post/1020023902.html






Consumer electronics prices across the board will be going up this year.

(Let me repeat that in italics, so you can re-read it with emphasis.)

Consumer electronics prices across the board will be going up this year.

That’s the word from well-placed sources in the industry who have told me this, but wish to remain anonymous for fear of being the bearer of bad news. (As we all know in consumer electronics, the only time prices go up is when a new technology or format is introduced, or when manufacturers introduce next-generation products with added features)

What’s the reason this time? China.

What’s wrong with China? A “perfect storm” of higher costs that will drive up the price of CE manufacturing there. Here are some of the factors I’ve heard:

*
The exchange rate between the U.S. dollar and the Chinese yuan has gone down since the beginning of the year;
* Labor costs have increased 15 percent due to new labor laws in China;
* Raw-material costs, from plastic to electricity to copper and others, are all up. Unlike previously when “one or two components would increase in price,” costs are increasing for all components;
* The economic downturn has hurt volume;
* Many Chinese factories lost money last year, and some factories have closed down, causing production delays;
* There are labor shortages in China, believe it or not, because factories are moving “further and further away from the southern part of the country where many of those factories used to be located;
* And, of course, higher oil prices have increased shipment costs to the United States.

One industry veteran who has dealt with Chinese manufacturers for years commented, “Since the Chinese new year we have had a literal waterfall of cost increases. There is almost not a single product that we can buy at close to what we paid previously. The increases range from 5 to 15 percent.” This exec said it could get worse if the exchange rate problems deepen.

All of this has resulted in longer lead times. One U.S. marketer noted, “The norm for 60 days on re-ordering ready products has gone to 90 to 120 days. Brand-new products are, of course, another 60 to 90 days on top” of that.

Retailers have begun to get the word from their suppliers and some are said to be “still pretty much in a state of denial, but some of them gratefully acknowledge that they know what is going on and are hearing it from others.”

One manufacturer noted, “The bottom line is that before long we will most likely witness a first in our electronics careers — the actual raising of retail prices! The costs which have to be absorbed are too great not to be spread among all those involved in getting products to market.”

When I asked one top U.S. manufacturing executive if there was an alternative to China in the short term, he noted, “Some have mentioned Vietnam, but we are talking about consumer electronics. China has the infrastructure. There really isn’t an alternative,” at least in the foreseeable future.
 

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and while we're at it, let's bash walmart some more!

f*ck walmart! :p
 

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[quote author=John_in_the_LBC link=topic=110341.msg2274110#msg2274110 date=1209511494]
and while we're at it, let's bash walmart some more!

f*ck walmart! :p
[/quote]

You're not going to get a disagreement from me. China-Mart!
 

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It was bound to happen. Pump all that money in there, give the populace a large taste of personal freedom and, voila, people expect higher wages and the banks in China get tired of giving out bad loans for factory expansion (something they should have learned from the Japanese).

Oh well. I don't mind paying a fair price for a product. Anything that reduces the gap in retail prices and costs of production between China/India/Taiwan and the western world is good in my book...
 

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No, I agree...the reason we bought so many goods from them is because they were cheap. It didn't matter if the good that was twice as much lasted twice as long...it was cheaper. Now that the gap is closing, this is a good thing for those of us who hate the domination of Chinese good in the marketplace.

Perhaps more will start looking at where items are made and that choice will be tougher.
 

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[quote author=mrc link=topic=110341.msg2274180#msg2274180 date=1209512541]
No, I agree...the reason we bought so many goods from them is because they were cheap. It didn't matter if the good that was twice as much lasted twice as long...it was cheaper. Now that the gap is closing, this is a good thing for those of us who hate the domination of Chinese good in the marketplace.

Perhaps more will start looking at where items are made and that choice will be tougher.
[/quote]

China is quickly transforming its economy to focus on domestic consumption and moving away from being dominated so heavily by its reliance on exports. It will level out, somewhat. The question is, though, what country will take its place?
 

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it's time we look around at the landfills as realize we need to abandon this "disposable" consumerism. From diapers to shoes to stereos and cars...we are consuming and throwing away too much because everything is so cheap, at the expense of the environment. some people have 5-10 old cell phones because each new feature means they HAVE to have a new phone (or whatever).

-- end tree hugging rant
 

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[quote author=John_in_the_LBC link=topic=110341.msg2274220#msg2274220 date=1209513184]
it's time we look around at the landfills as realize we need to abandon this "disposable" consumerism. From diapers to shoes to stereos and cars...we are consuming and throwing away too much because everything is so cheap, at the expense of the environment. some people have 5-10 old cell phones because each new feature means they HAVE to have a new phone (or whatever).

-- end tree hugging rant
[/quote]

NatGeo has had some great shows in the past few weeks showing the impact of the human footprint. It's amazing when you add it all up.
 

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[quote author=fatabbot link=topic=110341.msg2274198#msg2274198 date=1209512766]
[quote author=mrc link=topic=110341.msg2274180#msg2274180 date=1209512541]
No, I agree...the reason we bought so many goods from them is because they were cheap. It didn't matter if the good that was twice as much lasted twice as long...it was cheaper. Now that the gap is closing, this is a good thing for those of us who hate the domination of Chinese good in the marketplace.

Perhaps more will start looking at where items are made and that choice will be tougher.
[/quote]

China is quickly transforming its economy to focus on domestic consumption and moving away from being dominated so heavily by its reliance on exports. It will level out, somewhat. The question is, though, what country will take its place?
[/quote]

None really can. Vietnam is super cheap still for labor, but their infrastructure isn't really all that and it is a country of 85 million people compared to China's BILLION people. India has a huge population as well, but horrible infrastructure, so don't see them picking up where China is leaving off anytime soon. Mexico has decent infrastructure and transport costs would be fairly low, but labor costs aren't super low (but lower then in the US).

Fact of the matter is its unlikely we will ever see the costs of consumer goods be as low as they have been the last 30 years.

Speaking of old cell phones I have been meaning to get a new battery for mine, it is having a hard time holding a charge (I'll of course recycle the old battery). I tend to hold on to a cell phone for 3-5 years before replacing mine. Cars 8-12 years, TVs 4-7 years and so on.

Heck my wife and I are using cloth diapers because we are disgusted at how much waste disposables create (I highly recommend them, they are nothing like the cloth diapers I was in as a baby, they are slick). The new TLC show Wasted actually showed the ones we use. http://www.cottonbabies.com/product_info.php?cPath=98&products_id=1279

Huge perk is it also saves a ridiculous amount of money. We bought 27 cloth diapers which gives us enough to get through 2-3 days between loads of laundry. Total cost was around $450 for all the diapers and inserts. Since they are effectively adjustable size from 8-10lbs up (we used disposables till our son was about 3 weeks) we never have to buy new ones. Total cost from birth to 2 years old (assuming you can have a child potty trained by the time they are 2) is something around $2,000+. Now factor in if you have a second child (and we are planning to around when our son is potty trained, about 2 1/2) and that is a savings of about $4,000.

Sure you have to factor in extra detergent and the water and electric for the extra laundry, but we would need to do loads about every 3-4 days if it wasn't for the diapers because of him getting outfits dirty. Total cost in a month for the extra water, electric and detergent is maybe $10, a lot less then $80-100 that would be spent on diapers or the thousands of pounds of waste that waste that would be dumped into a landfill over our son's diaper years. Oh, and all of the resources that it takes to make those thousands of disposable diapers.

Another perk is that most children find cloth diapers more comfortable and it is proven that there is a much greater chance to get diaper rash in a dispoable then in a cloth diaper. Oh and its also proven that kids who wear cloth diapers tend to be able to be potty trained at a younger age then those in disposables.

They are easy to clean. You simply wash out the insert really quick and the shell and if there is poop you rub the shell against itself, wash it out, put a few drops of detergent in it (you need to use a All Free and Clear detergent, some of the scented harsher ones damage the elastic over time), rub it together again and wash it out. If you are out and need a diaper change just throw it in a plastic bag and wash it out when you get home if you can wash it out quick in a bathroom sink. Then just throw it in the laundry.

Crap, okay I am going to step down from the soap box and walk away now. Seriously though, if you have a child in diapers try them out. The hassle is low and it saves a lot of money over time and you can feel good about yourself for doing it. Try ordering one or two, pretty cheap just to give it a try and if you find it is easy then buy a bunch.
-Matt
 

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[quote author=John_in_the_LBC link=topic=110341.msg2274220#msg2274220 date=1209513184]
it's time we look around at the landfills as realize we need to abandon this "disposable" consumerism. From diapers to shoes to stereos and cars...we are consuming and throwing away too much because everything is so cheap, at the expense of the environment. some people have 5-10 old cell phones because each new feature means they HAVE to have a new phone (or whatever).

-- end tree hugging rant
[/quote]

good rant john, +1
 
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