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RAZR competes with flowers on Mother's Day

By SHIHOKO GOTO, UPI Senior Business Correspondent   |   May 9, 2006 at 12:18 PM   |   Comments

WASHINGTON, May 9 (UPI) -- Tired of taking mom out to the same neighborhood restaurant for brunch each Mother's Day? Or maybe she's getting bored of getting a bunch of lank carnations or a bottle of perfume from a department store every spring?

The better gift for this coming Sunday in celebration of motherhood might be something with a memory chip, according to one industry analyst.

"Something small and mobile is really good," said Stephen Baker, vice president of industry analysis for the NPD Group, a New York-based market-research company. Some of the potential gifts on his list include the ubiquitous iPod or Motorola's RAZR mobile phone, two items that also feature on many teenagers' wish lists.

What's more, Baker argued that there really isn't much difference between what mothers and fathers want, either. Gadgets that organize and simplify life like PDAs and multi-tasking mobile phones are popular, and if having a family-focused item is preferable, what could be better than a digital camera or a featherweight laptop on which to download them?

Certainly, online retailers such as Amazon.com are touting electronic devices as good gifts to show mom how much you love her, and the NPD group said that electronic-product sales have been strong during a season that would otherwise have sluggish performance.

The problem for those with lots of love but not much cash, however, is that the little portable devices all come with a hefty price tag.

An Apple iPod could cost anywhere from $150 to $400, depending on the model, while a sleek, fuchsia pink Motorola RAZR mobile phone complete with Bluetooth wireless technology and digital camera can set the buyer back $500.

Still, money should be no object when it comes to showing mom how much you love her, argued Baker.

Besides, "there's less of a divide between what's discretionary and non-discretionary ... if you really need to have a new cell phone, or must have a digital camera," he added, pointing out that many of the higher-priced electronics items are must-haves rather than luxury items such as a silk scarf or a pair of diamond studs.

Of course, not all mothers are working high-pressured jobs that require a BlackBerry at all times, even though their numbers continue to increase each year. In addition, the age group of those who might find an iPod or PDA an alluring gift is fairly limited, largely for women in their 30s to their 50s.

Some mothers, though, are less than enthralled by the prospect of a pricey product for their special day and would rather celebrate the day by having fun with their children rather than get an electronic device, however useful.

"I'm looking forward to the day when Breeze can give me a hand-made gift that's unique. Or the day we can both go out together and be more like friends, going to a spa or something (for Mother's Day)," said Emily O'Donnell, a working mother of a 2-year-old girl living in suburban Washington. "If I got an iPod from her (in a few years' time), I'd assume she was really buying it for herself ... or my husband would be using it far more than I would," she added.

© 2006 United Press International, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Any reproduction, republication, redistribution and/or modification of any UPI content is expressly prohibited without UPI's prior written consent.
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