The Top Five Tech Gifts on Holiday Wish Lists

Smartphones remain the most wished for tech gift this holiday season.

By Alan Wolf, YSN

Attention BrandSource members who got out of tech: Spending on consumer electronics hardware and services is expected to hit $135 billion during the current holiday season (October-December), up 10 percent from last year.

That’s the word from the Consumer Technology Association (CTA), the CE industry’s principal trade association, in this year’s annual Consumer Technology Holiday Purchase Patterns study. Whether despite the pandemic or because of it, consumers are clamoring for tech products this season, with 81 percent of U.S. adults professing to be more likely or just as likely to buy a gadget this quarter.

Related: NPD Predicts a Very Merry Christmas for CE Dealers

As CTA market research director Lesley Rohrbaugh explained, “With consumers forgoing budgets for travel and experiences this year, more dollars will go towards technology gifts that support connection, productivity, health and entertainment, as technology has been a critical asset to so many during the ongoing pandemic.”

Based on the results of a CTA survey from September, some 184 million American adults are expected to purchase tech gifts this season, and are projected to spend an average of $528 on those CE devices and services.

Of those planning to purchase electronics, the vast majority will be multi-channel shoppers, searching for tech gifts both in-store (85 percent) and online (79 percent), the study revealed. And given the continuing health crisis, Rohrbaugh said, the decision will be based at least in part on safety.

“This season, more consumers will choose to shop with the retailers that provide safe shopping experiences and alternative methods of getting orders to the consumer such as contactless delivery and curbside pickup,” she predicted.

What exactly will they be buying? Well, if they follow the wish lists of family and friends, these top five products will find their way into stockings and under Christmas trees, based on the CTA’s survey results:

  1. Smartphones
  2. Laptops
  3. Video game consoles
  4. TVs
  5. Wearables

According to the CTA, smartphones continue to top the consumer tech wish list, with 45 percent of respondents planning to purchase at least one smartphone as a gift, up from 41 percent in 2019. Of those, 66 percent expect to upgrade to a 5G smartphone, and 48 percent expect to buy a case to keep their purchase pristine.

Unlike mobile phones, video game consoles didn’t even crack the Top 5 last year (they placed seventh), but made the leap to third place in anticipation of a slew of next-gen updates, including the Xbox Series X and PlayStation 5.

“The 2020 holiday season will bring economic, safety and political unknowns,” Rohrbaugh concluded, “but the consumer desire to give and receive technology gifts is certain.”

The quantitative Holiday Purchase Patterns study, designed and formulated by the CTA, was administered to an online sample of 2,007 U.S. adults between Sept. 10-13, 2020.