In Tough Economy Consumers Spending Less Overall But Allocating More to CE Gifts, According to CEA Study
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). The 15th Annual CE Holiday Purchase Patterns Study was unveiled today at CEA’s Industry Forum, a four-day conference designed to inform and connect leaders in the consumer electronics (CE) industry.
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 eight percent from 2007. The most popular CE products for teens this holiday are computers, video game consoles, portable mp3 players and cell phones.
“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’s 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. 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 six percent from last holiday.
“Certainly with the recession in the early 1990’s and the burst of the dot-com bubble, consumers spent less of their discretionary income on consumer electronics,” said Shawn DuBravac, CEA’s 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.
“It’s no surprise these CE products are topping everyone’s gift giving list,” said Herbert. “Consumers continue to seek out portable and digital devices that allow them to take their content on the go and share it across multiple platforms.”
As the crisis on Wall Street impacts spending this holiday season, both consumers and retailers will have to be more creative. 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 ten plan on using some form of credit.
“Consumers may have more trouble being approved for a credit card this holiday,” according to DuBravac. “Four in ten tech insiders believe significantly more consumers will be turned down for credit during the fourth quarter.”
The study found that retailers should also make the most out of their advertising dollars. Half of consumers say coupons and circulars in the Sunday paper are useful, while 45 percent say television commercials are effective.
For guides on how to purchase the right consumer electronics device, visit www.DigitalTips.org, CEA’s consumer website offering guides, tips and advice for consumers.
The 15th Annual CE Holiday Purchase Pattern Study was conducted between September 25 and September 28, 2008. It was designed and formulated by CEA Market Research, the most comprehensive source of sales data, forecasts, consumer research and historical trends for the consumer electronics industry. Please cite any information to the Consumer Electronics Association (CEA). The complete study is available free to CEA member companies.
The Consumer Electronics Association (CEA) is the preeminent trade association promoting growth in the $173 billion U.S. consumer electronics industry. More than 2,200 companies enjoy the benefits of CEA membership, including legislative advocacy, market research, technical training and education, industry promotion and the fostering of business and strategic relationships. CEA also sponsors and manages the International CES — Where Entertainment, Technology and Business Converge. All profits from CES are reinvested into CEA’s industry services. Find CEA online at www.CE.org.