CTA Predicts Black Friday Will Be a ‘Record Breaker for Tech’

Shawn DuBravac, chief economist of the Consumer Technology Association outlined the CTA’s projections for retail holiday sales. Anticipating a 3.1 percent increase over 2015 in consumer holiday spending on tech, top product categories include televisions, laptops and smartphones. Emerging categories such as wearables, drones and VR headsets are also projected to have a strong showing this season. DuBravac noted the top five tech trends to watch for at January’s CES: vocal computing, intelligent systems connecting diverse objects, self-driving cars and driver-assist technologies, artificial intelligence, and VR and AR entertainment.

According to results of the CTA’s pre-Black Friday survey, adult consumers in the U.S. plan to purchase the following products during Thanksgiving week: televisions (returning to the top spot after two years), laptops, smartphones, game consoles, tablets, headphones, accessories, DVD or Blu-ray Disc players, cameras and wearables.

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“CTA projects that 4.5 million 4K UHD sets will be shipped into U.S. retail for the 2016 holiday season,” reports StudioDaily. Other products expected to have strong sales include “drones (1.2 million units — a 112 percent increase from last year) and VR headsets (700,000 units).”

“By all accounts, the 2016 Black Friday week looks like it will be a record breaker for tech,” explained DuBravac. “Even with delayed promotions from retailers and manufacturers, and signs of pre-election uncertainty, we expect consumer enthusiasm for technology purchases during the holidays to be higher than ever.”

Dealerscope notes that CTA has “overall retail holiday sales growing 3.8 percent, and electronics retailers’ overall sales dipping 2.9 percent, but the subset of online CE sales rising 16.4 percent – and CE sales transacted through mobile devices up a mind-bending 45.2 percent.”

“Existing categories are strong, and emerging tech will be up in gift-giving,” said DuBravac. “Online, led by mobile, defines the growth profile.”

Dealerscope lists DuBravac’s top five tech trends to watch for at CES 2017:

  • The new voice of computing DuBravac pointed out that by next year, the word error rate in voice recognition technology will have decreased from 23 percent (in 2013) to zero (that is, human parity). “This will be a huge influence on technologies and products shown at CES,” he said. “The next computer interface is voice,” which is on the way to usurping GUIs, and will manifest at CES 2017 as “faceless computing.”
  • Connections and computations The trend of increasingly intelligent systems connecting diverse objects. This trend points to “an increasingly autonomous life” and particularly touches wearables/health/fitness/sports devices and smart home products.
  • Transportation transformation DuBravac pointed to the 200,000 square feet being allotted to self-driving cars and driver-assist technologies at the January show. “Auto makers are introducing cars models at CES now versus at car shows,” he said in underscoring the trend.
  • Artificial Intelligence’s rise and its infusion into lives and businesses.
  • Digitizing the consumer experience The future of entertainment is seated in VR and AR. “There’ll be a few surprises at CES,” he said. “It’s an extremely exciting time and CES 2017 (which marks the 50th anniversary of the show) begins the journey of the next 50 years.”