Record-Breaking Holidays Ahead for Tech: More Consumers Than Ever Plan to Give Technology Gifts This Season, Says CTA

CTA holiday forecast says 68% will buy tech, spend 3.1% more this
season over last year

ARLINGTON, Va.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–More U.S. consumers than ever – 68 percent, or roughly 170 million
people – plan to buy technology gifts this holiday season, a six percent
increase over last year, according to the latest annual research from
the Consumer Technology Association (CTA). The 23rd
Annual Consumer Technology Holiday Purchase Patterns Study shows
emerging technologies including drones, virtual reality and wearables
will pervade holiday wish lists this year.

According to CTA’s holiday retail forecast, spending on tech will
increase 3.1 percent to reach $36.05 billion during the 2016 holiday
season. The forecast also shows overall retail sales in November and
December, excluding gas and restaurant sales, are expected to increase a
strong 3.8 percent to $824.8 billion year over year. CTA estimates total
online holiday sales will grow by 16.4 percent to $84.2 billion, while
online sales through mobile devices like smartphones and tablets will
grow by 45.2 percent to $20.1 billion.

“The 2016 holiday season looks to be the biggest on record for the tech
sector, thanks to fresh and innovative products on the market such as
wearable tech, VR headsets, drones and digital assistant devices,” said
Shawn DuBravac, chief economist, CTA. “Our research also finds that most
Americans are now using tech devices to help them research and buy those
tech gifts.”

What Consumers Want, and How They’ll Find it

CTA’s study found more than half (57 percent, up two percentage points)
of consumers are likely to shop for tech online this year. Physical
stores remain the main source of tech gift purchases, with 74 percent of
consumers likely to purchase from a brick-and-mortar location – down
three percentage points from last year.

Once again, CTA expects headphones (40 percent) to be the most popular
tech gift given this year, driven in part by tech industry movement
toward wireless audio devices. The tech products U.S. consumers most
want to receive as gifts are laptops, TVs, smartphones, tablets and
videogame consoles.

Emerging Tech on More Wish Lists than Ever

A record-high number of consumers plan to buy a new, emerging technology
product as a gift this holiday season. The most popular gifts among
emerging tech will be:

  • Wearables (27 percent of consumers plan to buy), led by smart watches
    (17 percent) and fitness activity trackers (15 percent)
  • Smart home devices (24 percent), including smart thermostats (10
    percent) and digital assistant devices such as Amazon’s Echo (six
  • Connected or digital toys (11 percent)
  • VR headsets (10 percent), with several tech leaders introducing VR
    headsets to the market, CTA projects sales of 700,000 during the
    holiday season
  • Drones (nine percent), with projected sales of about 1.2 million units
    this holiday season (up 112 percent over 2015)

How will the Presidential Election Impact the Holiday?

While the 2016 holiday shopping season is shaping up to be a
record-breaker in terms of both overall retail spending and tech
purchases specifically, some consumer apprehension remains. Among
consumers who report planning to spend less on gifts this holiday
season, the reasons cited include not having the money (60 percent),
increased cost of living (57 percent) and fixed income (54 percent).
Additionally, 38 percent cite concerns about the presidential election
outcome among reasons they plan to spend less this season.

“The holiday shopping season has been steadily creeping earlier and
earlier into the year, but we expect to see a delay in the barrage of
holiday promotions this year until after the presidential election,”
said DuBravac. “This election will impact not only when consumers begin
to shop but, potentially, how much they spend.”

CTA Holiday Research

To keep up to date with all of CTA’s holiday research throughout the
season, visit
CTA will release the Pre-Black Friday Survey results on Nov. 10
at CES Unveiled New York, and its annual Post Black Friday Survey results
during the Thanksgiving weekend on Nov. 27 during a media call.

The 23rd Annual Consumer Technology Holiday
Purchase Patterns Study
was designed and formulated by CTA Market
Research, the most comprehensive source of sales data, forecasts,
consumer research and historical trends for the consumer technology
industry. CTA fielded the survey in September 2016 using a telephone
sample of 1,005 U.S. adults (18+). The report comes at no cost for CTA
members and is available at

About Consumer Technology Association:

Consumer Technology Association (CTA)TM, is the trade
association representing the $287 billion U.S. consumer technology
industry. More than 2,200 companies – 80 percent are small businesses
and startups; others are among the world’s best known brands – enjoy the
benefits of CTA membership including policy advocacy, market research,
technical education, industry promotion, standards development and the
fostering of business and strategic relationships. The Consumer
Technology Association also owns and produces CES® – the
world’s gathering place for all who thrive on the business of consumer
technologies. Profits from CES are reinvested into CTA’s industry



Consumer Technology Association (CTA)
Danielle Cassagnol