NEW YORK — Even in a weak economy, Americans increasingly feel that gadgets such as smartphones are not luxuries, but necessities.
That shift has helped electronics sales weather the recession better than some other categories. Best Buy posted a strong quarterly profit yesterday on a steep sales increase fueled by flat-panel TVs, notebook computers, and wireless gadgets.
Best Buy’s profit rose 37 percent, to $779 million, and revenue grew 12 percent, to $16.55 billion. It also projected brighter-than-expected 2010 results.
Though consumers faced tough challenges, such as the housing slump, job losses, and personal debt, chief executive Brian Dunn said, they often cut back elsewhere.
He said sales of televisions, notebooks, and cellphones rose enough in 2009 to offset significant declines in prices for some of the items. The average price of a flat-panel screen fell 26 percent to $660 in 2009.