Christmas Stocking

Christmas is just around the corner and store managers across the nation will be choosing what to put on the shelves and which continually looped festive CD to play in store. Matt Grainger takes a look at some of the gift ideas available next year...
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Another Christmas approaches. A time of year that conjures up dreamlike childhood memories of entire families sprawled on the sofa with full bellies and kids playing with new presents, while parents pretend to be interested in the Queen's Speech.

The run-up to Christmas has been a boost for retailers since before it was called Christmas and despite ongoing economic woes, this year looks set to be no different. The UK remains Europe's largest market for consumer electronics and the British appetite for electronic gadgetry continues unabated.

However, there is evidence for a possible downturn in the market. A recent poll by market researcher GfK found that 50 per cent of those surveyed planned to spend less on friends and relatives this Christmas.

However, Andy Miles of Interactive Ideas points out: "Christmas buying will be tightened somewhat I'm sure, but then again there will be many little voices in households across the country who will have a lot of influence over spending too."

In addition to this, there's always the other half of consumers who will continue their traditional spending patterns unchanged – the glass is half full for those who plan appropriately.

"Food and fuel prices and the tightening of credit, along with a general sense of economic uncertainty, may well see families being a little more cost conscious this year than previously," says Paul Cubbage of Target Components.

"The main impact is likely to be a reduction in demand for big-ticket items and more emphasis on a larger quantity of lower-cost stocking fillers, which can be hugely beneficial to the savvy retailer with the right type of products in stock."

Gem
USB Mug Warmer
SRP: £3.99

No need to fear a cold cuppa with this device. Requiring no additional batteries or software, this handy hot plate draws power directly from a USB port to keep your drink warm until you're finished.

Desktop Fish Tank
SRP: £5.99

This decorative device brings a touch of luxury to the desktop. Plugging in to the USB port, the Desktop Fish Tank contains miniature fish with hinged tails, bathed in blue LED light. Just add water.

Missile Launcher
SRP: £19.99

The ideal gift for the more territorial amongst us, this USB-controlled desktop mounted launcher can fire three foam missiles at co-workers, family or passers-by, complete with sound effects. Once its software is installed, a control panel appears on screen, enabling the user to aim and fire.

RC Insect
SRP: £29.99

This remote control insect helicopter is ready to fly right out of the box. Utilising a super-wide, tri band infrared control this lightweight device is perfect for use in an indoor environment. Includes AA batteries.

Focus
Encyclopedia Britannica 2009 Ultimate Edition
SRP £39.99

Ideal for homework, research or for swift access to trusted information, the Encyclopaedia Britannica 2009 Ultimate Edition provides a safe learning environment that is suitable for the whole family. Brand new for this year: Britannica Biographies, Britannica Book of the Year Articles and an Interactive A-Z QuickSearch. The perfect stocking filler.

The Complete Learner Driver Kit
SRP £29.99

The most comprehensive learner driver pack available. As well as best-selling Driving Test Success software, the box contains everything from a driving licence application form to magnetic Lplates, making this product an ideal gift for learner drivers looking to pass their Theory, Hazard Perception and Practical Tests.

PC Fitness: Your Personal Trainer
SRP £9.99

Containing 500 exercises, PC Fitness lets you exercise any time, anywhere, with the first interactive health and fitness game for PCs and laptops. Maya, the in-game virtual personal trainer, will build a fully customised fitness programme for the user, keep them motivated and deliver the results they've always wanted.

Target Components
Car Mice
SRP: £6.50

The ideal Christmas gimmick, in a range of models and colours in both wired and wireless versions. Working headlights and attractive retail packaging, these mice are already on the High Street but still allow retailers and etailers to make excellent margins.

One-inch Digital Photo Frame Keyrings
SRP: £5.00

Flying off the shelves all summer, these low-cost stocking fillers will sell like hot-cakes in the run up to Christmas. Storing up to 70 pictures with an 8-hour battery life, these mini photo frames also have a built-in rechargeable lithium battery, which can be charged by USB Mini B cable, meaning that you never have to replace the battery once it is fully charged.

Billion 3G Wireless Routers
SRP: £69.00

A more practical gift is Billion's 3G router, allowing you to create a wireless network without a landline through a 3G dongle. These products are becoming increasingly popular with the growth in popularity of 3G and are a strong seller in the market this autumn.

Emprex ME1 High Definition Media Enclosure
SRP: £42.00

Allows you to play music, high resolution photos and HD video, with One Touch Record and Time-shift input video from AV-in port. The ME1 can stream files from a PC, play files from USB or can be used as an external HDD. The ME1 supports both NTSC and PAL video in and video out and supports a wide range of multimedia formats.

Veho Film Scanners
SRP: £39.00

Bring back to life those old memories on old photographic formats. The VFS-004 Deluxe will scan your old 35mm slides and negatives and allow you to then edit them in Photoimpressions software, ready for printing, archiving or just viewing them on the big screen.

Interactive Ideas
Acronis True Image Home 2009
SRP: £34.00

Acronis True Image Home 2009 is intuitive backup software for home users, based on reliable system and data backup and easy recovery. Numerous new and enhanced features can be used very easily to create a backup strategy in just a few clicks, ensuring that system and data are effectively protected against loss.

iClone Studio 3
SRP: £59.57

iClone3 is the complete 3D movie machine with real-time animation and actor creation tools for rendering movies with ultimate detail. Design actors are ready to take the stage as fully animated 3D avatars featuring custom faces, facial animation, motion, clothing and accessories. It features Film iClone animation in realtime with advanced live actor puppeteering and vehicle piloting powered by keyboard hotkeys and game-like mouse look control. Export and share your movies online or as footage for post-production video projects.

eDimensional Access Single-hand Controller for PC/PS2/PS3
SRP: £68.08

A modular rig that features five interchangeable pods – one each for the analog sticks, d-pad, main buttons, and shoulder buttons – that can be rearranged to make any control scheme one-hand-friendly. The base can be laid on the user's legs, arm rest or desk – perfect for one-handed gamers or those who like to enjoy a pint while playing.

J&J Associates
Cirrus Digital Photoframe
A 15-inch multimedia digital LCD photo display encased in an exclusive mocha wooden frame. Not only can the 1024x768 screen display single frame jpgs, but it can also show a variety of movie formats such as jpeg, mpeg, avi and mp3. The Cirrus comes complete with inbuilt stereo speakers and a remote control.

Meroncourt
Roccat Kone Gaming Mouse
SRP: £54.99

This pro-gamer mouse is the perfect present for those who can't keep away from the computer screen. A one millisecond response time, 1000Hz polling rate and adjustable resolution up to 3200 dpi serves to improve those all important aiming skills and trigger times. However, it's the internal 72MHz Turbo Core unit that serves as the beating heart of this unit. Allowing the user to store five game profiles, its Macro Manager enables the user to create and store complex macros on the device.

Speed-Link 185 AMIGA Classix Games & Competition Pro
USB Joystick
SRP: £17.99

A classic is reborn with this handy device – a USB joystick that contains an extensive collection of 185 Amiga games, allowing the user to relive their childhood years of playing classic games. Ideal for the young at heart, the USB nature of the device means that the user can play these classic titles at a moment's notice, while the joystick features handy additions such as auto-fire and micro switches to add to the nostalgic feel.

Speed-Link VoIP Mouse
SRP: £39.99

A groundbreaking combination of two features, the VoIP mouse is essential for any gadget fiend. The stylish mouse can open up to form a VoIP phone, which supports Skype, allowing the user to chat to friends over the internet. Thanks to the hands-free mode, the user can talk at the touch of a button without having to open the phone, ensuring total convenience at all times.

Lotto Ball

If you're looking to stock the ideal gadget to snare people who might not neccesarily come into your store, then this is quite possibly the one. This Lotto ball is the perfect gift to spice up your customers' time after the traditional Christmas lunch.

Satsuma USB range
The mother of all gadget offerings, this free standing POS display comes with a huge selection of USB gadgets, all baying for your customers' attention. Stick this by your till and watch them fly. Just make sure you have enough stock to refill it.

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