Holiday Tech Spending Expected to Rise

According to CEA's holiday retail outlook, overall spending this holiday season is expected to increase 3.4 percent to reach $788.5 billion.

cea and tablets

Nearly two-thirds (65 percent) of all Americans, roughly 160 million people, are planning to buy tech gifts this holiday season, a steady increase over last year, according to the latest Consumer Electronics Association (CEA) Holiday Purchase Patterns Study.

The study found emerging technologies continue to drive growth in the tech industry, with one in three holiday shoppers (33 percent) looking to purchase an emerging tech product--such as smart home devices, wearable activity trackers and drones--during the 2015 holiday season.

"Emerging technologies are starting to see a rapid growth in terms of purchasing for the holidays," Samantha Powers, senior manager of market research at CEA, told eWEEK. "Last year about one in every five U.S. adults planned to purchase an emerging tech, this year this has jumped to about one in every three U.S. adults are planning to purchase emerging technologies. In this study we categorize wearable fitness trackers, smartwatches, smart home devices and robotic vacuums in the emerging technology category."

According to CEA's holiday retail outlook, overall spending this holiday season is expected to increase 3.4 percent to reach $788.5 billion.

Spending on tech during the holiday season is expected to reach nearly $34.2 billion, a growth of 2.3 percent.

According to the CEA study, the tech products that U.S. consumers most want to receive as a gift this holiday season are televisions, tablets, smartphones, laptops and notebooks, and video game consoles.

"TVs have always been at the top of purchase intent and holiday wish lists," Powers said. "Televisions have seen such a rapid increase in changing technology that consumers are often 'wishing' for the latest model and best quality even if they already have a TV that suits their needs."

More than half of shoppers (58 percent) plan to purchase a tech accessory this season, with video game accessories seeing one of the largest increases in popularity with one in five shoppers (23 percent) likely to purchase one--a seven percentage point increase from last year.

The study also found more than half (55 percent) of consumers are likely to shop for tech online this year, however, traditional retail channels remain essential sources of tech gift purchases.

More than three-quarters (77 percent) of consumers--on par with the past four years—said they likely to purchase from a brick-and-mortar location.Households with children are significantly more likely to shop online (69 percent) than households without children (56 percent), the study found.

In addition, mobile shopping is now starting to connect with audiences of all different ages.In 2014, 69 percent of 35-54-year-olds planned to use a mobile device to help with holiday purchases.

This year, that number rose to 74 percent, approaching the 79 percent of Millennials who plan to use a smartphone to shop.