When portable radios, cassette and CD players exploded onto the market, users began chewing through batteries like they were going out of style. But now, even though the use of personal electronic devices is at an all-time high, fewer devices use traditional batteries and companies like Duracell and Energizer are feeling the pinch.
Alakline battery sales batteries fell 4.9% to $1.1 billion in the 52 weeks ended May 15, according to SymphonyIRI. At Walmart alone, alkaline-battery sales were down 13.8% last year.
To be sure, households with kids, particularly younger ones, use more batteries than others. And some more-popular gaming devices, such as Wii controllers, chew up disposable batteries. But fewer people are having babies in the recession (with live births in the U.S. down around 5% from annual levels prior to the recession, according to Kimberly-Clark Corp. Chairman-CEO Tom Falk on a recent conference call). Another is that those babies are outgrowing battery-operated toys remarkably fast.
Do you see the battery business going the way of VHS tapes? What items do you still buy batteries for? (Try to keep your responses slightly clean).
Batteries Not Included in Portable Device Boom [AdAge.com]