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CE Goods Top Holiday Purchase Plans

San Francisco – More than three-quarters, 78 percent, of all U.S. households are likely to purchase at least one consumer electronics product as a gift during the upcoming holiday shopping season.

That finding comes is among several results of an annual Consumer Electronics Association (CEA) study released yesterday during its annual Industry Forum and Fall Conference, held here at the Fairmont Hotel.

The Ninth Annual Holiday Purchase Patterns survey indicates that retailers should expect booming sales of DVD players and digital cameras, as well as significantly increased levels of gift giving interest in home theater and home stereo, big screen TVs, and camcorders. On an unaided basis, U.S. adult consumers named 13 consumer electronics products among the 30 top items they would like to receive as gifts this year.

Sean Wargo, senior industry analyst/market research, for CEA said DVD players, the fastest selling consumer electronics product in history, topped the list of CE gift items for the second consecutive year. Overall interest in purchasing DVD players rose 19 percent from last year.

The survey also found that digital cameras will be hot this holiday season. Nearly one-quarter of all U.S. households are at least contemplating a digital camera purchase, up 14 percent from last year. Third place on the list were personal portable tape and CD products. Following the boom in video game system sales from last year’s holiday season, video game peripherals top the computer wish list in 2002, as well as taking top ranking among items consumers plan to purchase for children.

Wargo noted that despite a down U.S. economy, a growing number of consumers feel economic conditions are the same or better than those they faced last year. In terms of the dollars consumers are allocating for gifts, 68 percent will likely spend the same amount or more this year, down slightly from 74 percent in 2001 and 71 percent in 2000.

‘In line with consumers’ plans to spend less this holiday shopping season, falling prices are allowing buyers to stretch their funds,’ said Wargo. The good news for the industry is that consumers still have an average holiday shopping list for as many as 14 friends or relatives.

While DVD players topped the list for the second consecutive year, a number of computer-related categories showed big increases in consumer interest. Sales of desktop computers, in particular, should get a holiday boost. Consumer interest in purchasing a PC as a holiday gift rose 27 percent over last year, and the computer ranked as the number two item for those likely to make an online purchase.

In addition, consumers aren’t forgetting the computers they already have with PC upgrades and accessory items ranking number one among likely online shoppers. In total, one in five U.S. households expect to purchase a PC upgrade (RAM, hard drive, CD burner, etc.) as a holiday gift. Overall, one-third of all U.S. households expect to make an online gift purchase this holiday season.

For a list of available reports and purchasing information, visit or send an e-mail request to [email protected]. For more on the CEA Industry Forum and Fall Conference, see coverage in the next print edition of TWICE, October 28, and