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iBrowse: Gadget sales to top $1 trillion

THE ASSOCIATED PRESS

Developing countries like China and India will drive global sales of consumer electronics above $1 trillion this year for the first time, even as cash-strapped shoppers in the U.S. and Western Europe ease off spending for high-tech gear, industry analysts said last week.

Developing countries will account for 46 percent of global gadget sales in 2012, up from 37 percent four years ago, according to GfK Boutique Research and the Consumer Electronics Association. The groups presented their forecast ahead of last week's International Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas. Their estimate of 2012 global electronics sales, at $1.038 trillion, represents growth of 5 percent from last year.

Consumers in China and other developing Asian countries, Latin America and Central and Eastern Europe are snapping up high-tech goods. Gadget sales in the U.S., Japan and Western Europe are stagnant, unable to command a higher share of consumer spending.

PayPal tests in-store payment system

EBay's PayPal service is testing out a payments system in brick-and-mortar Home Depot stores. PayPal spokesman Anuj Nayar said last week that the system is being tested in just five stores and involves a small number of PayPal employees. That means it's not available to the public and likely won't be for some time. The move is part of eBay's strategy to expand beyond desktop computers into mobile devices and other aspects of life.

EBay CEO John Donahoe had mentioned the plans in October during the company's earnings conference call. But he did not say which retailer was participating. To pay using PayPal, customers will be able to enter their phone number and a pin code, or use a special PayPal card.

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