Nearly three in four consumers who plan to spend money on gifts during the holidays intend to aim their dollars squarely at technology products – the highest percentage of tech-leaning holiday shoppers in the 17 years the Consumer Electronics Association has been studying holiday shopping trends.
“That was a key finding,” said Steve Koenig, CEA’s director of industry analysis, who, with the group’s chief economist, Shawn DuBravac, presented fine-tuned unit-sales-projection updates for the holidays on figures provided just last month. The newer figures were given at a Nov. 9 New York City-held CEA briefing on the 2011 International CES.
CEA’s research showed no change between October and November in the 5.1 million units of tablets that are expected to be sold through to the U.S. market during the holiday season. A modest rise was noted in the projection for flat-panel TV sales – from 10.51 million projected in October to 10.74 million projected in November. Blu-ray player projections dipped very slightly, from 4.77 million units to 4.76 million. Projections for MP3 players were up to a small degree, from 12.83 million to 12.88 million units, and digital camera projections were adjusted from 14 million to 14.3 million units, while camcorders dropped from 2.65 million to 2.41 million.
“Overall, we see the holidays shaping up quite nicely,” said DuBravac about buyers’ intent to spend on CE. He painted a retail scenario that the CEA findings showed was already being shaped – and would continue to be shaped – by the momentum of well-before-and-well-after Black Friday deals.
DuBravac added that retailers are for the first time using appliance-deal-driven advertising on the front pages of their circulars to take advantage of Black Friday’s irresistible lure.
Computer-product and video-product “uber-bundling” taking the form of deals like two TVs for the price of one, DuBravac said, would also be a hallmark of the season. “It communicates value to the consumer and helps achieve a higher-ticket ring for the dealer,” he said.
Another trend that CEA research showed would make the season bright for CE sales is the tendency of nascent technologies to see half their sales volume realized in the fourth calendar quarter. DuBravac pointed out that “this year, there are lots of new product categories in the market to take advantage of this.” He specifically cited tablets, and noted that as this is 3DTV’s inaugural year, “50 percent of volume in the fourth quarter would be unsurprising.”