Holiday sales of CE products are expected to hit nearly $34.2 billion this year, the Consumer Electronics Association (CEA) said.
Driving the season’s 2.3 percent increase is increased consumer interest in emerging technologies like smart-home devices, wearable activity trackers and drones, the trade group reported.
CE will also ride the wave of a holiday season that CEA chief economist and senior research director Shawn DuBravac described as possibly “the biggest on record.”
According to CEA estimates, total holiday sales are expected to grow 3.4 percent, to $788.5 billion.
In contrast, the National Retail Federation (NRF) is projecting a $630.5 billion bounty for merchants this holiday season — but a 3.7 percent increase over last year, when seasonal sales rose 4.1 percent.
CE sales growth has similarly slowed from last year, when tech spending was up 3 percent, to $33.4 billion, CEA said.
NRF pointed to reduced job formation, deflationary retail prices and a spending shift toward services as drags on holiday sales.
But if the percentages sounds paltry they’re not: NRF said the total projected holiday gain is still “significantly higher” than the 10-year average of 2.5 percent.
Even more significant will be the increase in online sales, which NRF is forecasting will grow between 6 and 8 percent, to $105 billion, or nearly 17 percent of all holiday sales.
Not surprisingly, online sales skew heavily toward CE. According to the CEA’s “22nd Annual CE Holiday Purchase Patterns Study,” more than half (55 percent) of consumers are likely to shop for tech online this year. However, traditional retail channels remain essential sources of tech gift purchases, with 77 percent of consumers — on par with the past four years — likely to purchase from a brick-and-mortar location.
What’s more, households with children are significantly more likely to shop online (69 percent).