Behind the Upward Tick in Holiday Tech Spending: CEA

DuBravac presents holiday-season projections

CEA president Gary Shapiro: 2014 "looking better"

Connectivity-related products will draw the most dollars

A look inside the 2.6 percent projected upswing in holiday spending on technology was provided by the Consumer Electronics Association’s Shawn DuBravac, chief economist and director of research. His insights included the observation that while it is still a positive, that percentage might have been higher if the CE-category share of desired durable goods had not receded slightly due to consumer “pent-up-demand” dollars being apportioned to other kinds of durable goods. His thoughts were offered at a statistical presentation on the upcoming holiday season during a preview event for the 2014 International CES in New York City Tuesday.

Providing context for the overall picture is research showing that holiday expenditures of all types this year will likely be adjusted downward by buyers due to lack of money, concerns over the economy, the higher cost of living, and their assertion that they “have what they need;” all those reasons for cautious spending were cited more frequently for 2013 than they were in 2012, according to the CEA’s report.

Slightly more U.S. adults responding to the survey, however, said they planned to purchase tech gifts this year (64 percent) versus last year (62 percent), with the most desired tech products being connectivity-related: tablets (14 percent), notebook computers (12 percent), TVs (11 percent), and video game consoles and smartphones (seven percent each).

The shorter 2013 holiday season timeline – with a late Thanksgiving and with Hanukah dovetailing with the Thanksgiving holiday and weekend – has forced retailers into even earlier and more creative CE merchandising tactics than in 2012, DuBravac noted. He pointed to some examples of unusual retail strategies that have already manifested – namely, Walmart’s and Kmart’s launches of mid-September promotions; a mid-October overnight sale by retailer hhgregg; OfficeMax’s gambit of planning door buster sales spaced out over three separate time slots Thanksgiving evening and early on Black Friday; and a Target initiative promising a 20 percent “shopping trip” store discount the week after Black Friday with a minimum $75 purchase made on Black Friday.

CEA president and CEO Gary Shapiro, who emceed the evening’s presentations, said that the U.S. CE industry would likely achieve $202.6 billion in revenues for 2013. Acknowledging the challenging market conditions, Shapiro said, “It’s tough out there in 2013, but 2014 is looking better,” with CEA’s revenue projections for next year at nearly $212 billion, improving upon 2013 by about 4.5 percent.

Editor in chief of Dealerscope
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