Consumer electronics products continue to top the holiday wish lists of adults and teens, resulting in 3.5 percent projected growth in fourth quarter industry shipments over last year, according to new research released today by the Consumer Electronics Association (CEA). Consumer electronics comprise four of the top 10 items on adults’ holiday gift wish lists, with computers coming in second behind peace and happiness. Televisions, video game systems, and cell phones also made the top 10.
Nearly 80 percent of adults expressed interest in receiving a consumer electronics product as a gift this holiday season, an increase of four points from last year. Meanwhile, 84 percent of teens want to receive a CE product this year, up 8 percent from 2007.
“There remains a robust desire for consumer electronics and this category continues to be the bright light during these dark economic times,” said Tim Herbert, CEA senior director of market research. “CE devices have become integrated into the everyday lives of consumers. No matter what your current economic situation, you can find a CE product to fit any holiday budget.”
Consumers plan on spending a total of $1,437 this holiday season on everything from gifts to food to decorations, according to the survey. That number is down nearly $200 from last year as consumers cite cost of living increases and economic concerns as reasons for cutting back. While consumers are planning to spend less this holiday season, they’re actually preparing to spend more on consumer electronics. Twenty-eight percent of the total holiday budget is being allocated for CE purchases, an increase of 6 percent from last holiday.
“Certainly with the recession in the early 1990s and the burst of the dot-com bubble, consumers spent less of their discretionary income on consumer electronics,” said Shawn DuBravac, CEA economist. “However, there has been a change in sentiment as consumers now view CE as a necessity rather than a luxury. Although this year’s projected fourth quarter growth is down from last year, discretionary spending on consumer electronics is at an all-time high.”
The “15th Annual CE Holiday Purchase Patterns Study” also tracked the gifts consumers are planning on giving their friends and family this holiday. Video game systems topped the list, followed by digital cameras, portable mp3 players, and DVD players. Video games also top the “wow factor” list as consumers feel it will make a great gift. High-definition TVs come in a close second.
Two-thirds of consumers say they’ll use coupons and spend more time shopping around for bargains. Half also plan on using cash this holiday, instead of putting purchases on their credit card. However, four in 10 plan on using some form of credit. The study also found retailers should make the most out of their advertising dollars. Half of consumers say coupons and circulars in the Sunday newspaper are useful, while 45 percent say television commercials are effective.