Research: Digital living room to require tech support

August 2, 2007: 6:13 PM ET

Consumers will spend more than $400 million on in-home tech support this year, and that number could skyrocket in the future, according to a Parks Associates report.

Parks Associates estimates that consumer spending on tech support could approach $1 billion in 2011, which bodes well for companies like Best Buy (BBY), OfficeMax (OMX), Staples (SPLS), Circuit City Stores (CC) and CompUSA, which have gotten into that business. As computer makers such as Apple (AAPL), Hewlett-Packard (HPQ) and Dell (DELL) target computing devices toward more of the home, people will essentially need consultants to make them work.

"Consumers have been very consistent in expressing both their frustration with the complexity of today's digital home products and services and their willingness to seek professional assistance to solve these issues," said Kurt Scherf, Parks Associates vice president and principal analyst. "We view the customer service and support area as not just a critical challenge for retailers, manufacturers, and service providers to overcome, but also a significant revenue generating opportunity for forward-thinking companies."

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