US holiday tech spending set to hit record levels

Tablets top collective Christmas list

Tablets top collective Christmas list

Tablets, TVs and smartphones look set to help ensure the highest level of consumer holiday spending since the Consumer Electronics Association (CEA) began tracking it in 1994.

According to CEA’s holiday outlook released today, total tech spending during the holidays will increase 2.5 percent (up from 0.9 percent growth in 2013) to reach a record $33.76 billion during the 2014 holiday season. The findings were presented by CEA analysts during the closing session at CEA’s inaugural Innovate! Conference held this week in Phoenix, AZ.

“Consumers are decidedly more optimistic about holiday spending on tech this year versus last year,” comments Shawn DuBravac, CEA’s chief economist and senior director of research. “The macroeconomic environment is providing a firmer foundation and holiday consumers are showing a strong inclination to shop this holiday season. CEA’s forecasts point to growth in overall spending as well as spending on tech this holiday season.”

According to CEA’s 21st Annual CE Holiday Purchase Patterns Study, similar to last year the five CE gifts U.S. adults most want to receive are also the top five products driving the majority (51 percent) of total revenue for the CE industry in 2014. Combined, these products are expected to generate $108.8 billion in revenue in 2014, according to CEA’s U.S. Consumer Electronics Sales and Forecast.

The tech products that consumers most want to receive as gifts this holiday season are:

1) Tablets

2) Notebook/Laptop computers

3) TVs

4) Smartphones

5) Videogame consoles

While consumers want to receive consumer electronics as gifts this holiday season, 63 percent of U.S. adults plan to give the gift of technology this year.. CEA expects headphones and earbuds (27 and 26 percent, respectively) to be the most popular CE devices consumers give during the 2014 holiday season. Tablets (26 percent) also will be popular this year, followed by notebook/laptop computers (25 percent), TVs (24 percent) and smartphones (23 percent).

“The appetite for tech is strong for the 2014 holiday season,” said Steve Koenig, director of industry analysis, CEA. “Expect to see growing consumer awareness and interest in emerging tech categories, including health and fitness technology, as industry giants have entered the playing field. These products will make their first big splash this holiday season, setting up 2015 as a breakout year for emerging segments like smartwatches and smart home technologies.”

For the first time, CEA’s Annual CE Holiday Purchase Patterns Study found over half (54 percent) of consumers are likely to purchase CE products online this year, increasing from 45 percent in 2013. Further, 26 percent of consumers indicate they are likely to purchase more CE products online this year compared to last year. However, traditional retail channels remain vital for tech gift purchases with 77 percent of consumers likely to purchase from a brick-and-mortar location.

Two-thirds (67 percent) of consumers who plan to spend money on CE are likely to use a mobile device, such as a smartphone or tablet, to help them shop. Interestingly, those likely to use mobile devices to help them shop for CE plan to spend more money on CE this holiday season.

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