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Brick-and-Mortar Is Top Channel for Tech Shopping

CTA Holiday Report on Tech Spending
CTA Holiday Report on Tech Spending

It’s ironic that the top channel for shopping for tech products is brick-and-mortar stores, but that’s the finding from a new report from the Consumer Technology Association (CTA).

The CTA’s 26th Annual Consumer Technology Holiday Purchase Patterns study says technology spending during the 2019 holiday season (October-December) is projected to reach $97.1 billion in revenue in the US, on par with last year’s actual spending.

In releasing the study, the CTA also revealed the top-five tech gifts consumers most want to receive (surprise, it’s not just mobile gadgets – people want laptops, too).

Press release follows:

Technology spending during the 2019 holiday season (October-December) is projected to reach $97.1 billion in revenue in the U.S. – on par with last year’s actual spending – according to the Consumer Technology Association (CTA)®. CTA’s 26th Annual Consumer Technology Holiday Purchase Patterns Study says 186 million U.S. adults (74%) plan to purchase a tech product as a gift this year – with streaming service subscriptions and video games emerging as popular tech gifts.

Seven-in-ten U.S. adults (71%) plan to purchase a content-related gift this year, which includes videogame discs (43%) and streaming or download entertainment services such as Netflix or Hulu (39%).

“We are in the golden age of content as more people consume more content across more devices,” said Lesley Rohrbaugh, director of market research, CTA. “New video streaming services, more 4K Ultra HD content and larger screens on TVs and smartphones are putting entertainment on gift lists this holiday. Screens like laptops, smartphones and TVs will top wish lists and we’ll see a rise in emerging tech categories like smart home devices and wearables too.”

Top Five Tech Gifts Consumers Most Want to Get

The ‘Three Screens’ continue to top consumer wish lists this year, with desktops and digital cameras falling off the top five list.


More People Plan to Buy Emerging Tech

This season, more consumers plan to buy emerging tech as gifts for others, as well as themselves.

  • Smart Home Devices: More than half (59%) of U.S. adults plan to purchase a smart home product such as a smart doorbell, camera or lightbulb as a gift. Smart speakers, such as the Amazon Echo and Google Home, top the category with 38% of U.S. adults planning to purchase one this season. CTA expects a robust 11.3 million units to ship, a 42% decline over last year as more devices like TVs incorporate digital assistants.
  • Wearables: As new features emerge with enhanced health capabilities and mobile connectivity, 43% of U.S. adults plan to buy a wearable (including smartwatches and fitness trackers) this holiday. Specifically, CTA expects over nine million smartwatches will sell this holiday season – a 2% increase over last year.
  • Wireless Earbuds: Wireless earbuds will be a popular holiday tech gift to give with eight million units expected to sell – a 45% increase over 2018. Further, of the U.S. adults planning to purchase a gift within the overall headphone category, most say they’ll buy wireless earbuds this season.

Another popular gift this year will be videogame products, with half (50%) of U.S. adults planning to purchase a gift in this category. One-third (33%) plan to buy a videogame console such as an Xbox One X or PlayStation 4 Pro and accessories such as steering wheels or joysticks.

Brick-and-Mortar is the Top Channel for Tech Shopping

Overall, 87% of U.S. adult consumers plan to shop at brick-and-mortar stores for tech gifts this holiday season, and 80% plan to shop online – both up over last year. Of those shopping online, 65% plan to do so using a mobile device (e.g., smartphone or tablet) and 33% plan to shop using a voice-activated digital assistant.

CTA Holiday Research

To keep up to date with all of CTA’s holiday and Black Friday research throughout the season, visit CTA.tech/holiday, where the report is available at no cost for CTA members.

CTA’s 26th Annual Consumer Technology Holiday Purchase Patterns Study was designed and formulated by CTA Market Research, the most comprehensive source of sales data, forecasts, consumer research and historical trends for the consumer technology industry. CTA fielded the survey in September 2019 using an online sample of 2,009 U.S. adults (18+). Please note previous versions may have used different methodologies.

See trends in next-gen screen technology, content and retail play out at CES 2020.

Consumer Technology Association:

As North America’s largest technology trade association, CTA® is the tech sector. Our members are the world’s leading innovators – from startups to global brands – helping support more than 18 million American jobs. CTA owns and produces CES® – the largest, most influential tech event on the planet. Find us at CTA.tech. Follow us @CTAtech.

SOURCE: CTA Press Release

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Ina Steiner
Ina Steiner
Ina Steiner is co-founder and Editor of EcommerceBytes and has been reporting on ecommerce since 1999. She's a widely cited authority on marketplace selling and is author of "Turn eBay Data Into Dollars" (McGraw-Hill 2006). Her blog was featured in the book, "Blogging Heroes" (Wiley 2008). Follow her on Twitter at @ecommercebytes and send news tips to ina@ecommercebytes.com.

2 thoughts on “Brick-and-Mortar Is Top Channel for Tech Shopping”

  1. Nothing surprising whatsoever.
    When I build a computer (that’s right) I LIKE having everything a stone’s throw from me.
    I enjoy perusing the options, gathering up the components one by one…..
    The shear Joy of firing up my latest creation for the first time is unparalleled.
    If a monitor blows, just drive 5 minutes to get a new one.
    NEVER use “The Cloud” for Your storage.
    Want to expand RAM without paying HUNDREDS of dollars more than you have to ? DONE :o)
    I hope MORE Brick and Mortar stores come into existence in the very near future.
    By The Way : I calculated I’ve saved More than $50,000 by NOT having a “Gizmo” since the very first one was offered to the public.

  2. Can’t help but think it is the most intelligent approach for these kinds of items. If you are not super tech savvy (and having the latest phone/tablet/exercise bike does NOT count) it’s worth the trip. I consider my equipment an investment and want to see and test anything I invest in. Especially since I have to rely on it for so many things, however reluctantly.

    I am surprised retailers aren’t converting at least a few locations to “catalog” type showrooms in lieu of websites for certain mechandise. It would certainly eliminate bickering back and forth about something being as described, etc. and perhaps cut down on returns. There are simply too many who should neither shop nor sell online.

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