CEA: Holiday CE Sales to Rise 5%

CEA: Holiday CE Sales to Rise 5%

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Consumer electronics sales around the holidays are expected to increase by about 5%, compared to 2.5% of general retail holiday sales, according to CEA's 2010 Holiday Sales Forecast.

“We think there's great momentum going into the fourth quarter,” Shawn DuBravac, CEA's chief economist and director of research, said in summing up the outcome of a generally positive forecast.

Here are some highlights delivered at CEA's Industry Forum in San Francisco:

–       In the top-ten wish list of gifts, adults chose a laptop, second behind peace/happiness; an iPad third; an eReader fifth, behind clothes; and a video game system ninth. Last year, a computer and video game system ranked second and third, with television coming in sixth and digital cameras in eighth, two products that didn't make it to this year's list.

This is the first year in which three CE products ranked in the top five, a sign of high consumer demand for innovative products, especially tablets. This bodes well for retailers, considering new products typically account for about 50% of CE products bought during the holidays, DuBravac said.

–       The number of consumers who plan to spend money on holiday gifts is 73%, about the same as in 2007 and up from last year's 67%. About 75% of those consumers plan on gifting a CE product, the highest amount in the survey's history. There is also a significant increase in the amount of CE products people plan to give: 37% plan to give to a spouse, up from 27% in 2009; self-gifting hit 29%, up from 28%; and gifting to children rose to 48%, up from 43%.

 “We continue to see more consumers allocate more (CE products),” DuBravac said. Steve Koenig, CEA's director of industry analysis, who joined DuBravac on the stage, added “We've seen a pretty good jump in gifting CE.”

–       About 85% of adults want a CE product this holiday season, up from 80% last year. In order of preference, the top-10 list of products is: iPad, eReader, iPod/iPod Touch, video game system, digital camera, big-screen TV, computer (unspecified), desktop PC.

–       About 86% of teens, up from 77% last year and 84% in 2008, want a CE product as a gift. Their top ten are MP3/digital media player, iPod/iPod Touch, video game console, laptop, cell phone, iPad, tablet PC, smart phone, video games and iPhone.

–       About 69% of consumers expect to spend the same or more on gifts this year than last, that's compared to a record low of 59% in 2008 and a high of 79% in 1998. About 21% expect to spend more. “You have holiday spending growing and spending allocated to consumer electronics up 5%, that's something that will continue to build,” DuBravac said.

–       U.S. consumers will spend a total of $1.4 billion on gifts this year, a 3% increase over last year.

–       Consumers plan to allocate about 31% of their gift spending, about $232, on CE products, up 5% from last year's $222.

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