Hot Electronic Gifts for the Holidays

November 18, 2008 10:19:55 AM PST
Consumer electronics products continue to top the holiday wish lists of adults and teens, according to Jim Barry, the Digital Answer Man of the Consumer Electronics Association Electronic gadgets make up four of the top 10 items on adults' holiday gift wish lists on the 15th Annual CE Holiday Purchase Patterns Study, Jim says. Peace and happiness top the list, but computers come in a close second. Televisions, video game systems and cell phones also made the top 10.

Nearly 80 percent of adults expressed interest in receiving a consumer electronics product as a gift this holiday season, that's a slight increase over last year. Grownups are slowly catching up to teens; 84 percent of young adults want electronic gifts this year. The most popular electronic products for teens this holiday are computers, video game consoles, portable mp3 players and cell phones.

Consumers plan on spending a total of $1,437 this holiday season on everything from gifts to food to decorations. That number is down nearly $200 from last year as consumers cite cost of living increases and economic concerns as reasons for cutting back. While consumers are planning to spend less this holiday season, they're actually preparing to spend more on consumer electronics. Twenty-eight percent of the total holiday budget is being allocated for CE purchases, an increase of six percent from last holiday.

The 15th Annual CE Holiday Purchase Patterns Study also tracked the gifts consumers are planning on giving their friends and family this holiday. Video game systems topped the list, followed by digital cameras, portable mp3 players and DVD players. Video games also top the "wow factor" list as consumers feel it will make a great gift. High-definition TVs come in a close second.

"It's no surprise these CE products are topping everyone's gift giving list," said Barry. "Consumers continue to seek out portable and digital devices that allow them to take their content on the go and share it across multiple platforms."

As the crisis on Wall Street impacts spending this holiday season, both consumers and retailers will have to be more creative. Two-thirds of consumers say they'll use coupons and spend more time shopping around for bargains. Half also plan on using cash this holiday, instead of putting purchases on their credit card. However, four in ten plan on using some form of credit.

The study found that retailers should also make the most out of their advertising dollars. Half of consumers say coupons and circulars in the Sunday paper are useful, while 45 percent say television commercials are effective.

For guides on how to purchase the right consumer electronics device, visit www.DigitalTips.org, CEA's consumer website offering guides, tips and advice for consumers.

About Jim Barry, Digital Answer Man of the Consumer Electronics Association

Each year, Jim travels to more than 60 cities across the U.S. showcasing the newest gadgets selected from over 2,000 manufacturers. Jim is a 20-year veteran of consumer, trade and custom magazine publishing. He held editor positions with Video magazine and Dealerscope and was editorial director of Bartex Publishing Group, which published PC Retailing and Home Entertainment Marketing. He is also the former president, CEO and editorial director of Boston-based Custom Magazines, Inc. Mr. Barry is a member of the Academy of Digital Television Pioneers and the board of electors of the Consumer Electronics Hall of Fame. He is a visiting lecturer at the Boston University School of Communication.

The Consumer Electronics Association (CEA) is a non-profit organization that promotes growth in the U.S. consumer electronics industry and hosts the International CES. CEA does not accept promotional payments from its member companies, and the tour is an educational service of the association as part of its mission to grow the industry. Find CEA online at www.CE.org.

Jim Barry's Holiday picks:

Sylvania and MSI "netbook" notebooks
Kodak and Pure Digital pocket camcorders
Casio digital camera
Lexar wi-fi SD card
Garmin, TomTom, Zoombak GPS
Sansa "Fuze" MP3 player and "Slot Music" player
T-Mobile G1 "Google Android" wireless phone
LG "Dare" wireless phone
Sima notebook carrying case
Monster & EcoSmart environmentally friendly surge protectors
iLuv clock radio iPod dock

CEA Study Shows Nearly Half of Teen Activities Are Driven By Technology
80 Percent of Teens Can Not Imagine Spending a Day Without Technology

Today's teens were introduced to technology as toddlers and rely on consumer electronic products like computers, cell phones and MP3 players that make their lives easier, according to new research released today by the Consumer Electronics Association. Teens say technology helps them keep in touch with friends and family, although three-quarters of teens said they do not spend less time with people because of technology.

"Teens are comfortable with technology and value the improvements technology makes in their lives," said Steve Koenig, CEA's director of industry analysis. "As this generation looks for all-in-one features and bigger and better products, they will fuel the growth of the consumer electronics industry."

CEA research shows the average teen expects to spend around $312 on consumer electronic (CE) devices in the next six months. Teens are well versed in a number of CE products and spend approximately four hours per school day devoted to technology related activities. Personal ownership of CE devices among teens is, as expected, low because they live at home where many electronics belong to parents. Exceptions include lower cost products such as headphones/earbuds, cell phones and MP3 players, of which teens claim sole ownership.

When asked how they spend their day, nearly half of teen's activities were driven by technology. Four of their five top activities were technology driven, with listening to music as the most popular activity among teens. Purchasing (58 percent), borrowing (56 percent) or receiving a CD (52 percent) as a gift are still the primary sources teens get music, with online stores (51 percent) being a secondary source. Purchasing music through online stores has increase 10 percent since 2006 and teens are accessing music through online sources like YouTube (47 percent). As teens increase their online time, there is expected growth in online consumption of music

.

A quarter of teens expect to purchase a new cell phone within the next six months, making it teens' most popular consumer electronic product. When asked to choose only one technology to use for an entire day, teens chose cell phones most often. Not just used for talking, seventy percent of teens use their cell phones for texting. Teens also use their phones to access mobile entertainment, shoot videos, listen to music and watch videos. Over one-third of a teens' cell phone activities are spent accessing and creating content. Based on teen's current cell phone usage and interest in more advanced features, growth can be expected in teen ownership of smartphones

.

Looking specifically at what CE products teens want, an upgraded cell phone (a smartphone) and an MP3 player were at the top on their list. Additionally, higher ticket consumer electronic products like computers/laptops, video gaming systems and digital cameras would make popular gifts for the holiday season.

For guides on how to find the right consumer electronics device for you, visit www.DigitalTips.org, CEA's consumer website offering guides, tips and advice for consumers.

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