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CEA Predicts Strong CE Holiday Sales

11/07/2011 12:01:00 AM Eastern
SAN DIEGO — Consumer spending on electronics gifts this holiday will reach an all-time high, according to the Consumer Electronics Association’s (CEA) “18th Annual CE Holiday Purchase Patterns Study,” released last month.

The survey shows that overall spending this holiday will increase as well. The study was released at the CEA’s Industry Forum in San Diego, its four-day conference held here in October.

Consumer electronics are once again among the most desired gifts this holiday season and will account for onethird of all holiday gift spending, according to the CEA. Consumers plan to spend on average $243 on electronics gifts, an increase of 5 percent from last year and the highest level since the CEA began tracking holiday spending.

Overall gift spending will also increase. Consumers plan to spend on average $769 on gifts this year, 2 percent higher than last year. The CEA expects holiday retail sales to increase 2.5 percent this year.

“Consumer electronics continue to play a leading role in holiday shopping, with consumer tech clearly being a go-to category for holiday gift spending,” said Shawn DuBravac, CEA chief economist and research director. “After months of depressed consumer confidence, individuals are indicating they plan to spend this holiday and are looking for technology, as more adults will buy consumer electronics as a gift this year as compared to last year.”

Computing products will lead the way this holiday season. Tablet computers trail only clothes as the most wanted gifts overall. Notebook computers are also high on the list, along with peace/happiness and money. When it comes to electronics, behind tablets and laptops are TVs (any type), e-readers and video game consoles as the most wanted CE gifts.

Electronics accessories and gift cards will also be popular this holiday. Four out of five adults plan to give a gift card this year, up 8 percent from last year, many of them for digital content and services. One in four consumers plans to give a gift card that can be used for digital music purchases, one in five for electronic book purchases, and 16 percent for app purchases.

“It is going to be a computing holiday season, with tablets looking to be the runaway success story,” DuBravac said.

“New, innovative product categories like tablets and e-readers, combined with consistent favorites like notebook computers, video game consoles and televisions, will make this a digital holiday season. But the economic landscape will have consumers searching for value, hunting for these technologies at attractive prices.”

Price will be the most important factor as consumers decide where to buy their CE gifts. The ease of making a purchase and return policies also will be important purchasing factors.

Two-thirds of consumers will compare the price for electronics online before making a purchase. However, consumers plan to buy CE gifts at mass merchants and electronics stores before they go online or to warehouse clubs.

The “18th Annual CE Holiday Purchase Pattern Study” was conducted in September. It was designed and formulated by CEA Market Research.

The complete report is available free to CEA member companies at http://members.ce.org. Non-members may purchase the report for $699 at the CEA Store.
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