By Lisa Johnston
New products on display at the American International Toy Fair, held in N
SAN FRANCISCO – The Consumer Electronics As- sociation’s (CEA) 19th annual “Holiday CE Purchase Patterns Study” predicts overall retail sales will be up 3.4 percent during this year’s season.
All e-commerce sales will be up 13.5 percent for the holidays, according to Shawn DuBravac, chief econo- mist and research senior director for the CEA, and holi- day electronics and appliance retail sales will be up 2.2 percent, up slightly from last year.
In the report, released at last month’s CEA Fall Fo- rum, 66 percent of consumers said they plan to spend the same or more compared with last year, and 76 per- cent of those consumers surveyed intend to buy a CE product, the same as last year.
Additional findings point to significant holiday spend- ing improvements in several key areas.
• Overall holiday season spending is expected to be up 11 percent from 2011 with the average consumer spending $1,634.
• On average, half of the average holiday budget ($842) will be devoted to gifts, up 9 percent from 2011 ($772).
• The top recipient of CE gifts will be children, as al- most half of U.S. adults (45 percent) plan to give them a CE device. • About one in three consumers will purchase CE for themselves (31 percent) or their spouse/significant other (34 percent), and one in five plan to purchase CE devices for their parents (22 percent).
• On average, 30 percent of the average expected gift-giving budget ($252) will be allocated to CE, 2.4 percent higher than last year.
• More than half of U.S. adults (55 percent) are likely to purchase a CE product for themselves or their house- hold that won’t be given as a gift this holiday shopping season.
The CEA survey points toward a strong holiday sea- son for the CE industry. Consumers will still spend in light of the economy’s slow recovery as indicated by increasing holiday budgets.
Portable computing products will lead the way as the products consumers want most and are the top prod- ucts they plan to purchase as gifts.
Price remains an extremely important factor for gift giving. As increasingly deal-savvy consumers search for the best available prices, comparison shopping in stores and on the Internet will also likely be extremely important, the industry group said.
Here are some other notable survey findings:
Men, younger consumers and those households with children are predicted to be the biggest purchasers of CE products this holiday season.
For holiday wish lists, tablets are the top mention among consumers (8 percent), “even more than cash [5 percent] or peace and happiness [5 percent] according to our survey,” said Steve Koenig, CEA industry analysis director. However, demand has declined for notebook computers, signaling the strength of tablets in the com- puting space.
Among the people who most want a tablet, there are more women (57 percent) than men (43 percent).
On the CE gift-giving side, computing products, es- pecially portable devices, remain some of the most de- sired and continue to find their way into the top gifts consumers plan to give.
Smartphones lead the way as potential gifts (29 per- cent, up from 21 percent in 2011) along with tablets (27 percent, up from 20 percent last year) and laptops (25 percent).
Competing with portable computing devices at the top of the gift-giving list are DVD/Blu-ray players (25 per- cent) and MP3 players (22 percent, down 4 points from 2011). TVs, video game consoles, e-readers and external storage devices are also probable gift purchases for ap- proximately 20 percent of U.S. adults.
Half of consumers who most want an HDTV this holi- day season are between the ages 25 through 44.
For consumers seeking to gift TVs, LED LCD TVs and regular LCD flat panels are most likely to be purchased, as noted by 76 percent and 72 per- cent of potential TV gifters, respec- tively.
Consumers are also quickly mov- ing toward more Internet-connected TVs (63 percent, up from 51 per- cent in 2011) and 3D-capable TVs (45 percent, up from 28 percent). TVs 55 inches and larger are taking more and more of the market, the CEA reported.
DSLR sales are increasing while point-and-shoot camera sales have dropped and will not be strong due to the popularity of smartphones, the CEA said.
CE accessories are likely to be popular gifts again this holiday sea- son. Nearly three in 10 U.S. adults are expected to purchase head- phones/ear buds (29 percent) or carrying cases (29 percent, up from 25 percent in 2011). Additional memory cards (24 percent) or video game accessories (20 percent) also rank high.
As for consumer behavior, CEA sees more holiday shopping in November right before and during Black Friday weekend, a result of retailers pushing Black Friday-like deals earlier to consumers.
Nearly four in 10 adults (39 per- cent, up from 35 percent in 2011) will begin shopping in November. More than a quarter (26 percent) plan to begin their shopping be- tween Thanksgiving and the end of November.
Only 16 percent began their holi- day shopping in September or earli- er whereas one in four (25 percent) plan to wait until December.
Most consumers (79 percent) think overall holiday shopping deals and Thanksgiving weekend deals (81 percent) will be as good or bet- ter than last year.
Consumers use a variety of chan- nels to learn about holiday deals, including talking to friends and fam- ily members, advertisements, mail, television and newspapers. Con- sumers are also increasingly turning to the Internet, the CEA said.
Comparison shopping with apps on smartphones and cellphones continues to impact the market, with 41 percent of consumers say-ing that they will do that.
Almost half (47 percent) view online advise- ments, 38 percent receive email notifications, 28 percent obtain information on social media sites, and 24 percent use deal of the day or flash-sale sites.
This TWICE webinar, hosted by senior editor Alan Wolf, will take a look at what may be the hottest CE products at retail that will be sold during the all-important fourth quarter. Top technologies, market strategies and industry trends will be discussed with industry analysts and executives.