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Emerging Tech to Edge Holiday Tech Spending to Reach Record Setting Levels, Says CTA

San Francisco, CA – October 12, 2017 – 
Sixty-eight percent of U.S. adults, or 170 million people, plan to buy tech gifts this holiday season, according to the latest annual research from the Consumer Technology Association (CTA). The 24th Annual Consumer Technology Holiday Purchase Patterns Study shows drones, fitness activity trackers and home robotic vacuums debut among the top ten most wanted tech gifts. Additionally, according to CTA's holiday retail forecast, tech spending will increase one percent to reach a record $96.8 billion during the 2017 holiday season (October-December).         
"The 2017 holiday season will be the biggest on record for consumer tech - and emerging products such as drones, wearables and smart home products will help drive tech spending to new levels," said Gary Shapiro, president and CEO, CTA. "Technology remains the gift to give and receive during the holidays. But this season, we expect to see changes in how and when consumers shop, and new product categories really take off."

Top 10 Most Wanted Tech Gifts Consumers Want to Receive
Hub devices including TVs and laptops rank highest on consumers' technology wish list this holiday, but emerging products are right behind them, including drones for the first time. Additionally, cameras are back on the list, likely driven by bundle deals and the popularity of action cameras. 
  1. TV                     
  2. Laptop
  3. Smartphone
  4. Tablet
  5. Videogame console
  6. Smartwatch
  7. Camera
  8. Drone
  9. Fitness activity tracker
  10. Home robotic vacuum
More People Plan to Buy Emerging Tech than Ever
A record 79 million U.S. adults plan to purchase emerging tech this holiday season. Some of the most popular gifts among emerging tech will be:
  • Drones: projected sales of 1.6 million units this holiday season (up 31 percent over last year), with 15 percent of Americans planning to purchase a drone
  • Smart home devices:  33 percent of Americans plan to purchase a smart home device, up nine percentage points, led by digital assistant devices (15 percent up from six percent last year), home cameras (13 percent) and smart thermostats (12 percent)
  • Wearables: 67 million American adults (27 percent) plan to buy a wearable device, led by fitness activity trackers (17 percent) and smart watches (16 percent)
  • Connected or digital toys: 15 percent plan to purchase, up four percentage points from 2016
  • VR headsets: CTA projects sales of 2.7 million units (up 283 percent) during the holiday season
How Consumers Will Shop for Tech 
CTA's study found more consumers than ever will shop for tech online (59 percent, up two percentage points), and 79 percent will shop in physical stores (up five percentage points). The increase in the number of consumers who plan to shop for tech specifically in brick-and-mortar locations is likely due to the rise of brand stores (31 percent of U.S. adults plan to shop in a brand store such as Apple or Microsoft) and pop-up stores (21 percent plan to shop in pop-ups such as Amazon).

New Trends to Watch for the 2017 Holiday Season
The 2017 holiday shopping season will see a continuation of trends CTA has observed in past years, including an increase in online shopping, a focus on tech gifts and fading emphasis on Black Friday. Some key trends CTA expects to emerge this holiday season include:
  • The Voice Effect: 2017 will mark the debut of a fourth sales channel - voice computing - which joins brick-and-mortar, online and mobile as methods of holiday shopping to learn about deals and make purchases. Popping up in more houses than ever, CTA projects digital assistant devices such as Amazon's Alexa and Google Home will sell 4.4 million units during the holiday season (up 22 percent over 2016), with the percentage of consumers who plan to buy one as a gift almost tripling this year.
  • Focus on Delivery Options: In parallel with the growth of online shopping, 2017 will see a surge in the number of Americans who plan to use shipping programs (63 percent, an eight percent increase) such as two-day shipping or free shipping. Additionally, over half (54 percent) plan to take advantage of guaranteed delivery by the holidays, and 51 percent will use free returns for online orders. Forty-four percent plan to use in-store pickup for online orders, and 36 percent plan to use same-day delivery for online orders - a significant percentage for a new retail offering.
  • Cyber November: Expect Black Friday-like deals to span all of November and more shoppers to start their holiday gift shopping earlier this year. Forty-six percent plan to buy gifts during the month of November (up two percentage points over last year), and 39 percent plan to make holiday purchases in December (down two percentage points). And with new shopping holidays cropping up (e.g., Singles Day), retailers aim to pull the holiday season forward and place less emphasis on Black Friday-specific deals.
"With technology in hand, holiday shoppers are dialed into deals like never before," said Steve Koenig, senior director of market research, CTA. "Consumers are engaging with new retail channels including voice, taking advantage of customized and curated retail experiences and getting gifts through new ways like same-day delivery. It's never been a more exciting time to be a technology consumer."

CTA Holiday Research
To keep up to date with all of CTA's holiday and Black Friday research throughout the season, visit

CTA's 24th 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 2017 using a landline and mobile phone sample of 1,008 U.S. adults (18+). The report comes at no cost for CTA members and is available at