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CE spending to set new record


Spending on consumer electronics this holiday season is projected to reach a record level of nearly $34 billion as shoppers clamor for ultra high definition televisions, smart watches, tablets and a new crop of smartphones.

The Consumer Electronics Association (CEA) predicts the 2014 holiday season will see the highest levels of consumer spending on consumer electronics since the group began tracking the category two decades ago. The trade group’s holiday outlook envisions total tech spending increasing 2.5% to $33.76 billion.

“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.”

The insights are based on CEA’s 21st Annual CE Holiday Purchase Patterns Study, which inidicates the tech products that consumers most want to receive this holiday season are: tablets, notebook/laptop computers, TVs, smartphones and videogame consoles.

While consumers want to receive consumer electronics as gifts this holiday season, 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. Tablets (26%) also will be popular this year, followed by notebook/laptop computers (25%), TVs (24%) and smartphones (23%).

“The appetite for tech is strong for the 2014 holiday season,” said Steve Koenig, CEA’s 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.”

As for where shoppers plan to buy CE, this year for the first time, CEA’s research shows 54% of consumers are likely to purchase CE products online, up from 45% last year. In addition, 26% of consumers indicate they are likely to purchase more CE products online this year compared to last year. However, traditional retail channels remain vital for tech gift purchases with 77% likely to purchase from a brick-and-mortar location.

Interestingly, the very CE devices consumers want to receive and give as gifts play an increasing role in the path to purchase. Two-thirds of consumers who plan to spend money on CE are likely to use a mobile device, such as a smartphone or tablet, to help them shop. Meanwhile, those likely to use mobile devices to help them shop for CE plan to spend more money on CE this holiday season.

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