Holiday Season Tech Spending to Reach Record Levels: CEA

Holiday Season Tech Spending to Reach Record Levels: CEA


Arlington, VA—According to the Consumer Electronics Association (CEA), the 2014 holiday season will see the highest levels of consumer spending on consumer electronics (CE) since CEA began tracking holiday spending in 1994.

CEA’s holiday outlook forecasts total tech spending during the holidays will increase 2.5% (up from 0.9% 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, Arizona.

“Consumers are decidedly more optimistic about holiday spending on tech this year versus last year,” said 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%) 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.

Top Holiday Tech Wish List
The tech products that consumers most want to receive as gifts this holiday season, in order, are: tablets; notebook/laptop computers; TVs; smartphones ; and videogame consoles.

In addition, according to CEA, 63% of U.S. adults plan to give the gift of technology this year. CEA expects headphones and earbuds (27% and 26%, respectively) to be the most popular CE devices consumers give during the 2014 holiday season. Other popular CE gifts will be: tablets (26%); notebook/laptop computers (25%), TVs (24%) and smartphones (23%).

Emerging product categories, which just a few years ago were too small to track, are now listed as products that one in five consumers are likely to purchase as a gift, notes CEA. One in 10 consumers are likely to purchase a fitness device (10%), a smart device for the home (9%) or a smartwatch (8%) as a holiday gift this year.

“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.”

Holiday Retail Channels

For the first time, CEA’s Annual CE Holiday Purchase Patterns Study found that 54% of consumers are likely to purchase CE products online this year, an increase from 45% in 2013, and 26% of respondents said “they are likely to purchase more CE products online this year compared to last year.”

Good news for brick-and-mortar retailers, CEA reports that “traditional retail channels remain vital for tech gift purchases with 77% of consumers likely to purchase from a brick-and-mortar location.

When asked when they plan to shop, more consumers responded they will shop early this year, but most will wait to finish their shopping later in the season, when they feel the best deals are available. “While most consumers (61%) plan to wait until November or December to start their holiday shopping, one-third (31%) indicate they anticipate shopping before November, up from 25% of consumers who planned to shop early last year. There also is a corresponding decline (seven percentage points from 2013) of consumers who start in December to search for the perfect gift,” noted CES.

To see the full 2014 holiday outlook presentation, including an assessment of last year’s forecast, visit