LOS ANGELES — Holiday sales of technology products will grow this year but not at the rate of previous years, according to the Consumer Electronics Association (CEA), which is predicting CE spending to increase 2.6 percent.
That is down from 4 percent growth in the 2012 holiday season, according to CEA’s report, the “20th Annual CE Holiday Purchase Patterns Study,” released at CEA’s Industry Forum, here, in October.
Seventy-four percent of consumers planning to purchase gifts this holiday season intend to buy CE as gifts, allocating 33 percent of their overall holiday gift budgets to CE, according to the study. Technology remains at the forefront of holiday purchases with accelerated, multichannel activities driving modest, albeit below trend, revenue growth.
CEA also found that there are multiple opportunities to expand sales for OEMs and retailers.
The majority (68 percent) of consumers indicated they will spend the same or more this holiday season compared with last year; however, the amount consumers reported they actually plan to spend will reach an average of $1,431, a 12 percent decrease from 2012.
Additionally, almost nine in 10 (86 percent) U.S. adults said they plan to buy gifts this holiday season, with 53 percent of the overall holiday budget devoted to gifts.
Those consumers who plan to spend less this year most commonly cited concerns about the economy (68 percent), already having what they need or want (67 percent), and not having the money to spend on gifts (66 percent).
“Negative economic sentiment and slipping momentum have consumers cautious about overall spending this holiday, but recent agreements, albeit temporary, should improve consumer confidence toward spending for the duration of the year,” said Shawn Du- Bravac, CEA’s chief economist and research senior director. “Moreover, holiday tech spending will remain somewhat impervious with recent and forthcoming product announcements to buoy excitement within the tech categories driving growth this holiday season.”
Tablets will top CE gift wish lists this year for adults, and video gaming consoles will top for teens.
While consumers want CE products for themselves, they also plan to give electronics as gifts. Headphones and ear buds (40 percent) will be the most popular CE device given this holiday season. A case for an electronic device (27 percent) will also be popular this year, followed by tablets (26 percent), smartphones (24 percent) and notebook/laptop computers (23 percent), CEA said.
Video game consoles rank high on planned purchases this year, largely driven by highly anticipated releases of next-generation gaming consoles. Of the 19 percent of U.S. adults expected to purchase a video game console, the majority reported planning to buy a next-generation console system (73 percent) compared with current models already on the market (59 percent).
Additionally, one in five (19 percent) consumers plan to purchase what CEA called a “emerging tech device” this year, with fitness watches, wearable body monitors and smart scales topping the list.
“Mobile connected devices are driving overall tech industry growth, and holiday gift sales will be no different,” said DuBravac. “Expect to also see growing awareness of emerging tech categories, including health and fitness technology. These are the products quickly moving into the mainstream in the coming years.”
Consumers are expected to start their holiday shopping later this year, with 57 percent of consumers planning to begin their shopping after Thanksgiving.
This year, 87 percent of U.S. adults indicated they were likely to use a mobile device to help them shop for CE this holiday season. The most common mobile shopping activities consumers will engage in is looking up retailer information (66 percent), comparing prices (62 percent) and getting information about products before store visits (62 percent).
“Mobile has become a major stepping stone on the consumer’s path to purchase, and we can expect to see retailers increase app driven promotions this season,” said Steve Koenig, industry analysis director, CEA.
The “20th Annual CE Holiday Purchase Patterns Study (October 2013)” was fielded Sept. 18-22. The study was designed and formulated by CEA Market Research. The report is available free to CEA member companies at Member.CE.org. Non-members may purchase the report for $299 at the CEA store.