||Holiday Sales of Consumer Electronics Expected to Rise Slightly
Shoppers plan to spend about $252 on consumer electronics this holiday season, a 2.4% increase from last year's $246, according to the Consumer Electronics Association's CEA's 19th annual CE Holiday Purchase Patterns Study, released at the association's Industry Forum in San Francisco this week.
Overall, consumers plan to spend $1,634 this holiday, up 11 percent from last year, with about $842 of that budget going towards gifts, a 9 percent increase from last year. About 76 percent of adults plan to give a CE product as a gift.
"I think it's a commentary that consumers have the money to spend," said Steve Koenig, CEA's director of industry analysis, adding that the overall increase in holiday spending shows that consumer confidence in the economy is increasing.
After the holiday season and well into 2013, though, expect consumers to pull back on CE spending, said Shawn Dubravac, CEA's chief economist and senior director of research, adding that retailers will also limit restocking. "There's still a tremendous amount of strain on the economy," he said.
Among those consumers planning to purchase TVs, 76% of U.S. adults plan to buy an LED TV as a gift, flat with last year; 72% plan to buy an LCD, down from 80%; and 45% plan to buy a plasma, down from 55%. The trend toward larger screens will carry over into the holidays, with 72% of consumers planning to buy a set over 40 inches, up from 65% last year; while 48% are looking at sets smaller than 40 inches, down from 54%.
About 63% are thinking about giving an Internet-connected set as a gift, up from 51%, while 45% want to gift a 3D set, up from 28%. For the first time, units shipped of LCD TVs 60 inches and over this year will surpass the sale of LCDs 20 inches and under.
Of those consumers planning to gift some type of audio product this year, 22% will be going with MP3 players, down from 27%; 15% with a wireless multi-room distribution system; 10% with an AVR, and 7% with a soundbar.
Sales of gaming devices will shrink this season, with 18% planning to gift a game console (down from 22%) and 15% going with a portable game console (down from 20%). Blame mobile devices for much of that decline. About 24% of consumers will gift a smartphone, tablet or MP3 player to be used primarily as a gaming device.
Expect robust sales of accessories this season, with 59% of adults expecting to gift something from that category, with 29% going with headphones, 24% with memory, 29% with cases, and 12% with any CE fitness device.
WHERE WILL THEY SHOP?
About 64% of adults will head to a mass merchant, 59% to a CE specialty retailer, 33% to a warehouse club (down from 40%) and 46% will go online for their holiday purchases. All those numbers are close to what they were last year.
While showrooming is one of the hottest retail topics this year, the same amount of shoppers this year (41%) as last plan to compare prices in brick-and-mortar stores on their cell phones. More comparison tools and apps, though, are available this year.
Door-buster deals and other targeted sales will of course be a big part of the shopping season, but opening price points on most consumer products will not drop by much.
"I don't think opening price points will have the same 'wow' factor as in previous years," Dubravac said. "Consumers are definitely looking for bargains, but they're not expecting big drops. They'll gravitate to the products they want."
Here's a look at some of the other key findings from this year's survey.
(Source: Dealerscope, 10/16/12)
- Men, younger consumers and those households with children are predicted to be the biggest purchasers of CE products this holiday season.
- The top recipient of CE gifts will be children, as almost half of U.S. adults (45 percent) plan to give them a CE device. About one in three consumers will purchase CE for themselves (31 percent) or their spouse/significant other (34 percent) and one in five plan to purchase CE devices for their parents (22 percent).
- It's probably no surprise that 16% of consumers want a tablet as a gift, while 10% want any type of TV, 8% want any type of cell phone, 7% want a laptop and 4% want an e-reader.
- Among those who want a tablet, 57% are women and 43% are men.
- As far as what consumers intend to give, smartphones lead the way at 29%, up from 21% last year, tablets at 27% and laptops at 25%. DVD/Blu-ray players come in at 25% and MP3 players at 22%, down from 27% last year. About 20% of U.S. adults expect to give TVs, video game consoles, e- readers and external storage devices.
- 77% of U.S. adults plan to give gift cards, with 50% for mass merchants, 40% for department stores, and 27% for electronics stores.
- Uptake of smartphones and tablets has led consumers to consider content and services as potential gifts. 26% plan to give gift cards, which can be used for digital music, 20% electronic book purchases, 16% app purchases, 15% online gaming purchases and 13% digital movie/TV show purchases.
- 26% of consumers plan to begin their shopping between Thanksgiving and the end of November. Only 16% began their holiday shopping in September or earlier, while 25% plan to wait until December.
- 71% of consumers expect to visit brick-and-mortar stores to get hands-on experience with CE products.
- 66% will compare prices for electronics products online before buying. 41% will use a mobile device to compare prices while in a store and 28% will search for promotions on social networking sites.
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