Nearly half of all U.S. consumers plan to purchase some sort of tech gift this holiday season and of those 82% plan to make their purchases during Black Friday Week, according to data released by the Consumer Technology Association (CTA) at the 2020 CES Unveiled New York event Thursday.

Topping consumer “wish lists” for holiday tech gifts this year were: No. 1 laptops/notebooks; No. 2 smartphones; No. 3 television sets (down from No. 1 in 2018); No. 4 tablets; and No. 5 electronic wearables.

Unfortunately for those wanting a TV or laptop, those planning to give tech gifts this year had some other ideas.

Among the most frequently mentioned planned tech and tech-accessory gift purchases this year are: wireless earbuds/headphones (57%), mobile device cases (46%), video game discs (42%), portable battery chargers (42%), streaming and download services such as Netflix or Spotify (41%), and smartphones (41%), the CTA said.

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“Despite a shorter shopping season, there will be a healthy appetite for tech. Wireless earbuds and streaming content will make a very strong showing over the course of Black Friday Week,” stated Lesley Rohrbaugh, director of market research, CTA. “Content subscriptions and services are quickly becoming a go-to gift, especially as a wide range of streaming video, audio and gaming options come on the market this holiday season.”

As for where tech purchasers plan to shop this year, the CTA found:

  • More U.S. Adults Will Shop Online and via Mobile This Year
  • Tech shoppers will use a combination of shopping channels over Black Friday Week and while most will shop in brick-and-mortar stores, more consumers will shop for tech online, mobile and via voice compared to last year.
  • Almost all U.S. adult shoppers plan to shop in-person at brick-and-mortar stores (97%), with most planning to shop at a mass merchant such as Walmart or Target.
  • More U.S. adult shoppers plan to shop online (83%) using a desktop or laptop computer, up two percentage points over last year.
  • The number of consumers planning to shop using a mobile device (81%), such as a smartphone or tablet, is up five percentage points over 2018.
  • The biggest jump will occur with the number of Black Friday Week shoppers who say they plan to shop for tech via voice (48%) – up nine percentage points – using digital assistants such as Siri or Amazon Alexa to research and find holiday deals, the CTA said.

“We are going to see retailers start sales earlier in November and more online shopping this season to make up for less time between Black Friday Week and the month of December,” Rohrbaugh said. “The number of consumers who will take advantage of the convenience of voice and mobile shopping methods, either in combination with in-store promotions or by themselves, are on the rise. More consumers own devices with voice capabilities and a number of brands are experimenting with this shopping channel to drive sales.”

Further holiday sales expectations over the full course of the season from October through December, include the following:

  • Overall tech spending will reach $97.1 billion in revenue in the U.S. – on par with last year’s actual spending.
  • Wireless earbuds are anticipated to sell 8 million units – a 45% increase over 2018.
  • Smartwatches are projected to sell 9 million units this holiday season (up 2%).
  • Smart speakers such as the Amazon Echo and Google Home will ship 11.3 million units, strong numbers for a relatively new category but a 42% decline over last year as more devices like TVs integrate voice capabilities.

By Greg Tarr

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