Sixty six percent of U.S. adults started holiday shopping prior to November in the face of potential supply chain disruptions, according to research released by the Consumer Technology Association (CTA) Monday.

Just 34% of shoppers reported having not started their holiday shopping yet. The Association said the findings indicate that 73% of shoppers will be either unaffected by the pandemic or more likely to purchase tech this year than prior to the start of the COVID-19 lock-downs.

The CTA survey was conducted online by Engine, a collaborative research partner, between Oct. 29 and 31, 2021 and included a sample of 2024 U.S. adults, aged 18 and over. The margin of sampling error at 95% confidence for aggregate results is +/- 2.18%, according to study disclosures.

As for where and how U.S. consumers are conducting their Holiday purchases, the study also showed that brick-and-mortar stores remain the preferred channel for tech shopping during the Thanksgiving through Cyber Monday period, with 95% of consumers reporting they plan to do their shopping directly in a store.

At the same time, 93% also plan to shop online, meaning most consumers mix their physical and virtual shopping. Overall, 95% of Thanksgiving week shoppers plan to use some type of technology to assist with their shopping, the CTA found.

“To compensate for potential supply chain challenges, shoppers and retailers alike pulling their shopping and deals forward in the season,” said Lesley Rohrbaugh, CTA’s market research director. “The increased popularity of tech shopping this Thanksgiving season demonstrates that it has become a gift of practicality. Following the pandemic, people have found more value in items that keep us on the go and connected. Non-physical content such as gifting streaming video, audio, gaming and fitness services are very popular among holiday shoppers, particularly as potential product delays affect holiday shopping this year.”

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The report also revealed the most popular overall product categories for Thanksgiving week shopping this year is clothing (89%), narrowly edging out tech products and services (86%) as the top selection.

In terms of the type of tech consumers are favoring, 81% plan to buy physical tech products and accessories and 54% plan to purchase streaming content.

The following is a list of product categories respondents cited most among their holiday shopping plans:

Clothing and accessories – 89%
Technology products/accessories and streaming/download services – 86%
Gift cards or gift certificates – 83%
Personal care or beauty products – 78%
Toys – 69%
Home décor or furnishings – 62%
Digital media including physical video games and DVDs – 60%
Physical media including books – 59%
Jewelry – 56%
Appliances – 45%

According to the CTA’s recent 2021 holiday shopping trends report for the October-December period, U.S. consumer tech spending is forecast to reach $142.5 billion this year, up 0.5% from 2020.

The CTA will present an in-depth research trends preview presentation at CES 2022 in Las Vegas, Jan. 3, 2022.

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By Greg Tarr

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