Three of four holiday gift-givers this year, as last, plan to include at least one tech product somewhere on their shopping lists – and they will have a Black Friday period to shop in that will start earlier and last longer than ever, in the estimation of the Consumer Electronics Association (CEA).
October sales were relatively soft, said Shawn DuBravac, chief economist and senior director of research, at a press briefing in New York City Monday night, but with the uncertainties of the election resolved, CEA projects a “good” holiday sales season where overall retail sales should better 2011’s results by about 3.4 percent.
He said that technology and appliance retailers’ CE sales should grow roughly 2.2 percent, and online CE holiday sales were estimated to end the year 14 percent higher than for that period in 2011.
Not surprisingly, the category expected to dominate CE Q4 sales is tablets, which should account for 32 million unit sales – a 112 percent growth over 2011.
“What do consumers want? Of those we asked, 8.3 percent said tablets – light years ahead of money (4.8 percent) and peace and happiness (4.5 percent),” noted CEA director of industry analysis Steve Koenig.
DuBravac noted that 31 percent of industry revenues are tied up in the tablet and smartphone categories combined. About 108 million smartphones are expected to ship in the U.S. this year; CEA also conservatively estimates that 70 million tablets will ship for the year in total, with the 100-million-unit mark on course to be eclipsed in 2013.
Other bright spots for the holidays include soundbars, expected to increase in unit sales by 54 percent over 2011, headphones (estimated 9.8 percent increase), and DSLR cameras (estimated 13 percent sales increase). TV sales should remain virtually flat, and large unit sales decreases will likely be felt in the camcorder category.