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CEA Study: Holiday Season Looks Good

Seventy-seven percent of consumers plan to buy at least one consumer electronics product as a gift this holiday season, according to the results of the 8th Annual Holiday Purchase Patterns survey, released by the Consumer Electronics Association (CEA).

The study, performed from Sept. 27 to Oct. 1, showed that digital electronics products, such as DVD players, headset CD players, digital cameras and wireless phones are among the top products consumers anticipate buying as gifts this holiday season.

The survey points out that despite the fact that 70 percent of consumers feel that the state of the U.S. economy is worse than at this time last year, they expect to spend roughly the same amount on gifts this year as they did last year. In addition, while the study finds that items such as clothes and cash retain their place among the most popular and desired gifts, peace/happiness was cited as the number two overall holiday wish.

“Consumers’ concerns over the economy and safety are leading them to recognize that consumer electronics products allow families to stay connected and share time in the home,” said Gary Shapiro, president/CEO of CEA. “New financial realities require that purchases, particularly gifts, offer the greatest value, and CE products provide that value.”

The survey finds that the likeliness to buy consumer electronics products as gifts is up in every single product category, with communications devices up 6 percentage points, video products and computers/ video games up 5 points and audio and mobile electronics up 4 points.

The intention to buy electronics as gifts crosses demographic barriers. While 18-34 year olds are much more likely to buy electronics as gifts than other age groups, there is relatively no difference in the intention to buy among different income brackets.

The types of products that consumers intend to buy also often crosses these barriers. DVD players, portable headset audio players, VCRs, cordless phones and gaming systems were listed as the top five intended purchases in each of the three income brackets surveyed. Cordless phones, portable headset audio players and VCRs were among the top five products cited across all age groups. DVD players and portable headset audio players were the number one and two intended purchases for both men and women.

The trend toward digital products continues this holiday season, as six of the top 10 desired gifts fall into the digital category, and digital products ranked near the top of expected purchases in each individual product category.

In video, DVD players continue to dominate the market, ranking as the number one overall product consumers expect to purchase, and the number two overall product consumers wish to receive. Also looking promising this season is the digital camera, ranking number two among the video products consumers expect to purchase, and number five among the overall products that consumers wish to receive.

In audio, portability has taken priority, with portable headset audio players and portable CD boomboxes topping the list of expected purchases. Also interesting is the appearance of home theater systems as the number-five expected audio purchase, indicating the continuing trend toward surround sound systems in the home driven by digital A/V receivers and DVD players.

In the realm of computer or video game products, gaming systems ranked as the number one expected purchase and the number one overall desired gift among children. Finally, in communications products, cordless and wireless phones topped the lists.

The survey was designed and formulated by the CEA Market Research Department to a representative sample of 1,000 random national households. For more information on the study, go to the CEA Market Research web site at