Gadgets

Electronics to lead expected 11 percent surge in consumer spending for 2012

SAN FRANCISCO — Consumers are expected to spend more on technology goods during the coming holiday season, according to a survey by the Consumer Electronics Association.

Estimates peg overall holiday spending increasing 11 percent this year, with spending on consumer electronics gifts expected to increase as well, the CEA said at its Industry Forum today. Consumer electronics will likely account for a third of all gift spending.

On average, consumers plan to spend $1,634 this holiday on all goods. About $842 of that will be spent on gifts, up 9 percent from a year ago. Consumers plan to spend an average of $252 on consumer electronics this year, up from last year’s $246. About 76 percent of gift-giving adults plan to purchase consumer electronics products as gifts this year.

“Consumers are feeling more confident in the overall direction of the economy this holiday season compared to last year and, as a result, will spend more on gifts, including electronics,” said Shawn DuBravac, CEA’s chief economist and senior director of research. “CE continues to play a leading role in holiday shopping, and this year is no exception, as consumers will dedicate a large portion of their overall gift budget toward electronics, specifically mobile connected devices.”

Mobile connected devices are the most-wanted gifts this season, led by tablet computers. Tablets are the most-wanted gift on both adults’ overall holiday wish list and their consumer electronics wish list. Smartphones are expected to be the most popular consumer electronics gift this year, followed by tablets, laptops, DVD/Blu-ray players, and accessories.

About 77 percent of adults expect to give gifts to someone. One in four will be for digital music purchases. One in five will be for electronic book purchases. 16 percent of the gift cards will be for app purchases and 15 percent for online gaming gift cards.

Consumers will likely pay close attention to pricing.

“Consumers will be in search of deals this holiday and will be using a variety of channels to find the best possible price on all gifts,” said DuBravac. “Comparison shopping in stores and online will be very common among consumers. They’ll also turn to friends and family, social media, advertisements, circulars and a number of other methods to find the best deals.”

For 2013, the CEA also said that the trends to watch are:

1. The future of 3D printing.
2. Next-generation TVs and displays.
3. The evolution of the audio market.
4. The mobile revolution in Africa.
5. Technology in education.

CEA chief executive Gary Shapiro (pictured at top) expects the 2013 International CES, coming in January in Las Vegas, to be a big success. He said that attendance is expected to top 150,000. About 3,000 companies will show off goods in the exhibits, including 140 startups in the show’s Eureka Park section.


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