Annual CEA Holiday Forecast and Study Finds Consumer Tech Spending to Grow 2.6 Percent this Season

Mobile devices remain most desired CE gifts, interest in emerging tech builds

Los Angeles, October 22, 2013 - The Consumer Electronics Association (CEA)® predicts consumer electronics (CE) spending will rise 2.6 percent this holiday season - down from four percent growth in 2012, according to CEA's 2013 holiday outlook released today at CEA's Industry Forum in Los Angeles.

Overall and CE Holiday Spending

Seventy-four percent of consumers planning to purchase gifts this holiday season intend to buy CE as gifts, allocating 33 percent of their overall holiday gift budgets to CE, according to CEA's 20th Annual CE Holiday Purchase Patterns Study also released today.

The study found the majority (68 percent) of consumers indicate they will spend the same or more this holiday season compared to last year. However, the amount consumers report they actually plan to spend will reach an average of $1,431, a 12 percent decrease from 2012. Additionally, almost nine in 10 (86 percent) U.S. adults say they plan to buy gifts this holiday season, with 53 percent of their overall holiday budgets devoted to gifts.

Those consumers who plan to spend less this year most commonly cite concerns about the economy (68 percent), already having what they need or want (67 percent) and not having the money to spend on gifts (66 percent).

"Negative economic sentiment and slipping momentum have consumers cautious about overall spending this holiday, but recent agreements, albeit temporary, should improve consumer confidence toward spending for the duration of the year," said Shawn DuBravac, CEA's chief economist and senior director of research. "Moreover, holiday tech spending will remain somewhat impervious with recent and forthcoming product announcements to buoy excitement within the tech categories driving growth this holiday season."

Holiday CE Gift Wish Lists

Tablets will top CE gift wish lists this year for adults and video gaming consoles for teens.

CE Product Gift Purchase Plans

While consumers want CE products for themselves, they also plan to give electronics as gifts. Headphones/earbuds (40 percent) will be the most popular CE device given this holiday season. A case for an electronic device (27 percent) will also be popular this year, followed by tablets (26 percent), smartphones (24 percent) and notebook/laptop computers (23 percent).

Video game consoles rank high on planned purchases this year, largely driven by highly anticipated releases of next-generation gaming consoles. Of the 19 percent of U.S. adults expected to purchase a video game console, the majority report planning to buy a next-generation console system (73 percent) compared to current models already on the market (59 percent).

Additionally, one in five (19 percent) consumers plan to purchase an emerging tech device this year, with fitness watches, wearable body monitors and smart scales topping the list.

"Mobile connected devices are driving overall tech industry growth and holiday gift sales will be no different," said DuBravac. "Expect to also see growing awareness of emerging tech categories, including health and fitness technology. These are the products quickly moving into the mainstream in the coming years."

Holiday Retail Shopping Behaviors

Consumers are expected to start their holiday shopping later this year with 57 percent of consumers planning to begin their shopping after Thanksgiving.

This year, 87 percent of U.S. adults indicated they were likely to use a mobile device to help them shop for CE this holiday season. The most common mobile shopping activities consumers will engage in is looking up retailer information (66 percent), comparing prices (62 percent) and getting information about products before store visits (62 percent).

"Mobile has become a major stepping stone on the consumer's path to purchase and we can expect to see retailers increase app driven promotions this season," said Steve Koenig, director of industry analysis, CEA.

CEA releases Black Friday sales figures before and during Thanksgiving weekend. To schedule an interview with a CEA analyst regarding Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales and trends, contact Danielle Cassagnol at

The 20th Annual CE Holiday Purchase Patterns Study (October 2013) was fielded between September 18 and 22, 2013. The study was designed and formulated by CEA Market Research, the most comprehensive source of sales data, forecasts, consumer research and historical trends for the consumer electronics industry. Please cite any information to the Consumer Electronics Association (CEA)®. The complete report is available free to CEA member companies at Non-members may purchase the report for $699 at the CEA Store.

CEA also released the results from its 10th Annual Teen CE Holiday Purchase Patterns Study (October 2013) which examines CE wish lists and holiday shopping patterns among teens ages 13 to 17. The report is available free to CEA member companies at Non-members may purchase the report for $299 at the CEA Store.

Featured Product

WaterCop + Z-Wave Technology = Complete water control

WaterCop + Z-Wave Technology = Complete water control

The WaterCop family of products continues to grow! We now offer Z-wave technology that allows remote control of a home's main water supply via phone or internet. It's perfect for people who want peace of mind that they can shut off water in homes from nearly anywhere using Z-wave protocol. Z-wave joins systems WaterCop Pro, LeakStop, WaterCop Classic, Outdoor, and Large Valve (1 ½"-4") Integration. Visit to learn more.