2019 Baker’s Dozen: Stephen Baker’s Annual Holiday Expectations

This holiday season looks promising for the consumer tech industry as an increased number of consumers are planning to purchase tech products and planning on spending more on them than last year1. But will the usual suspects continue to fuel sales or will shifts in consumer interest lead to changes?

Read on for expectations from NPD’s Consumer Tech Industry Advisor, Stephen Baker.

  1. Won’t Stop, Can’t Stop. This holiday Consumer Tech is forecasted to grow by 2.4% on top of last year’s 4.5% growth rate, as the market goes positive for the third straight year.
  2. Black Friday is Prime Time. Consumers continue to focus their shopping around the Thanksgiving/Black Friday weekend instead of hitting the stores in early November or late December.
  3. Finding the Blockbuster Product. Thanksgiving/Black Friday promotions are running out of steam. Each year there are fewer big blockbuster sales opportunities (65-inch TVs are likely to be the biggest focus for the second year in a row) as retailers are selling the latest and greatest at more profitable price points and extending promotions into smaller, more manageable segments.
  4. Value, Value, Value. The average price for consumer electronics will increase to $62 – up $1.50 from last year. In fact, since holiday 2016 we’ve seen an increase in the average selling price of $4, as consumers are willing to buy more expensive technology goods to get the best product they can afford.   
  5. The Decline of the Old Guard. TVs, notebook computers, and tablets once again fail to see any holiday dollar share growth. Other CE categories will step in to ensure the season remains merry and bright relieving the market pressure created by these slow-growth, mature segments.
  6. An Apple A Day. Apple is poised for a big holiday as strong trends in smartwatches, tablets and headphones deliver big sales results.
  7. Drown Out the Distractions. Watch for the increased importance of active noise cancellation in premium headphones during the holiday season. It isn’t just about true wireless anymore.
  8. Stream This. Desire for streaming on the big screen sees renewed interest as Apple TV+ and Disney+ launch in November. Stronger sales of streaming hardware and an even greater emphasis on TV platform will be the result.
  9. Bigger and Bigger is Cheaper and Cheaper. 65-inch TVs will be once again be the hottest holiday gift as average sales prices fall below $700, down nearly $100 from last year. 
  10. The Focal Point of the Home Returns to the TV. Along with growing TV screens and more streaming, sales of sound bars, mounts, and antennas are all poised to increase this holiday.
  11. Less Talking, More Listening. While very low cost smart speakers have been a holiday staple over the past few years, expect to see sales continue to plateau as the market moves towards screen based products like Smart Displays and higher quality speakers (since most interaction is listening).
  12. Defend the Homeland. Consumer interests in smart home turn to security and away from control. Video doorbells, locks, and cameras will garner the lion’s share of attention this holiday.
  13. Help Me Please!! Even as electronics become more pervasive consumers will ask for more help this holiday season than ever before. Deliver it to me, fix it for me, set it up for me, keep me safe, and give me access will drive lots of extra hardware selling opportunities.

1Source: The NPD Group, Inc., 2019 Holiday Purchase Intentions Survey


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