CTA Predicts Decline in CE Sales Growth This Holiday Season

During last week’s CES Unveiled event in New York, the newly named Consumer Technology Association (former Consumer Electronics Association) released its annual holiday purchase pattern study. According to Shawn DuBravac, CTA’s chief economist and senior research director, consumer electronics will have a strong showing this holiday season, but spending is expected to shift from high-end TVs to less expensive audio devices, mobile electronics and emerging technologies. The shift is expected to result in a drag on industry sales growth.

While 74 percent of gift shoppers have plans to make CE purchases (up from 73 percent last year), CE sales growth is expected to drop to 2.3 percent ($34.2 billion) this holiday season, down from 3 percent the previous year.

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“By comparison, total holiday sales are projected to grow 3.4 percent, to $788.5 billion, CTA noted. This year’s slowdown in holiday tech spend follows a long-decelerating trajectory, as CE seasonal sales grew 4.7 percent on average over the previous 10 years and 6.7 percent over the past 20,” reports TWICE.

DuBravac says there is “less interest in TV” by consumers this year as they are more drawn to mobile and emerging tech products.

According to the CTA, the largest tech categories by factory shipment are currently smartphones, tablets, LCD TVs, laptops and desktop PCs (in that order). However, the CTA notes that only 17 percent of video buyers have plans to purchase a new TV set this holiday season, down from 24 percent last year.

Other key findings of the CTA study:

  • 22 percent intend to buy some form of digital camera or camcorder.
  • 22 percent are looking for an after-market automotive product, whether portable GPS or a hands-free kit.
  • 24 percent intend to purchase a smartphone.
  • 26 percent will buy a gaming product.
  • 33 percent will buy emerging tech, up from 19 percent last year, including smart thermostats, drones and fitness devices and smartwatches.
  • 52 percent are in the market for audio, be it an AVR, soundbar, MP3 player, Bluetooth speaker or headphones.
  • 53 percent expect to buy a computing device, be it an e-reader, external storage, a notebook or a tablet.