2013 Holiday Study Finds Consumer Tech Spending to Grow 2.6%: CEA

2013 Holiday Study Finds Consumer Tech Spending to Grow 2.6%: CEA


Arlington, VA—The Consumer Electronics Association (CEA) predicts consumer electronics (CE) spending will rise 2.6% this holiday season, based on CEA’s 2013 holiday outlook report, which was released at CEA’s Industry Forum in Los Angeles. CEA also noted that consumers expect to start shopping later this year than in past years.

According to CEA’s 20th Annual CE Holiday Purchase Patterns Study, 74% of consumers plan to purchase consumer electronics as gifts this holiday season and will allocate 33% of their holiday gift budgets to CE.

While the 2.6% rise in 2013 CE holiday spending forecast is down from the 4% growth in 2012, the study found that the majority (68%) of consumers said they would spend the same or more this holiday season compared to last year. However, the amount consumers report they actually plan to spend will reach an average of $1,431, a 12% decrease from 2012.

Additionally, CEA Market Research reports that 86% of U.S. adults plan to buy gifts this holiday season, with 53% percent of their overall holiday budgets allotted to gifts. Those consumers who plan to spend less in 2013 cited the following reasons: the economy, 68%; already have what they need or want, 67%; and not having the money to spend on gifts, 66%.

“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 DuBravac, CEA’s chief economist and senior director of research. “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.”

According to CEA, tablets will top CE gift wish lists this year for adults, and teens are looking for video gaming consoles.
Adult Holiday CE Gift Wish List                 Teen Holiday CE Gift Wish List
  Tablet Computer                                              Video Game Console
  Notebook/Laptop Computer                             Smartphone
  Television                                                        Laptop
  Smartphone                                              Tablet Computer
  Video Game Console                                         MP3 Player

The research also reveals that while “consumers want CE products for themselves, they also plan to give electronics as gifts.” Headphones/earbuds (40%) will top the list of the most popular CE device given this holiday season, followed by a case for an electronic device (27%), tablets (26%), smartphones (24%), and notebook/laptop computers (23%).

Additionally, 19% of consumer respondents said they plan to purchase an emerging technology device this year, with fitness watches, wearable body monitors and smart scales the most popular.

“Mobile connected devices are driving overall tech industry growth and holiday gift sales will be no different,” added 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.”

Holiday Shopping Behaviors

Consumers are expected to start their holiday shopping later this year with 57% of respondents stating they will begin their shopping after Thanksgiving. And, 87% of U.S. adults told CEA they are likely to use a mobile device to help them shop for CE this holiday season.

According to the findings, the most common mobile shopping activities consumers will engage in includes: looking up retailer information, 66%; comparing prices, 62%; and getting information about products before store visits, 62%.

“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, director of industry analysis, CEA.

The 20th Annual CE Holiday Purchase Patterns Study (October 2013) was fielded between September 18 and 22, 2013. The study was designed and formulated by CEA Market Research. CEA also released the results from its 10th Annual Teen CE Holiday Purchase Patterns Study (October 2013), which examines CE wish lists and holiday shopping patterns among teens ages 13–17. ce.org