2020 Baker’s Dozen: Stephen Baker’s Annual Holiday Tech Expectations

2020 has been a year unlike any other, which has presented challenges and opportunities for the technology industry. In the U.S. we are expecting historic consumer technology sales growth of 18% in Q4, compared to Q4 2019. Below are the trends that we anticipate will contribute to this outcome:

  1. KISS… and we aren’t talking about mistletoe. Keep it Simple, Stupid. Yesterday’s best sellers will remain market favorites in 2020. From TVs to PCs, mice to soundbars, what sold best over the last two quarters will dominate the holiday season.
  2. Holiday 2020: shopping reimagined. Holiday sales have evolved substantially over the years and 2020 will see even more changes. Consumers will continue to take advantage of BOPUS offerings, as well as curbside pick-up, and online sales volumes will remain at record levels – in Q2 e-commerce represented 69% of tech sales – as the number of choices in how to buy increase.
  3. Ordinary is the new extraordinary. In a year with so many unknowns, technology gifts that are practical and functional will be more popular than ever. TVs, printers, smartphones, mice and keyboards are the building blocks of tech normalcy that will remain in high demand.
  4. Here today, gone tomorrow. Inventory and logistics challenges make it more important than ever to order your must-haves early on. Don’t procrastinate or you may miss out.
  5. Bringing the theater home. While 55-inch TVs are the new small screen among large TVs, consumers are increasingly turning to the TV, across all screen sizes, to satisfy their broad communal video demands. 55-inch TV sales are expected to grow 32% during the holiday compared to 27% for all TVs.
  6. One size does not fit all. More screens, more devices, better sound, more conveniently packaged. The stream you want is always accessible and choices abound for where and how you watch. These choices extend across all screens large and small, which is why demand for everything from large TVs to small tablets will be strong.
  7. The computer is personal again. The value of a do-it-all device has never been higher.
  8. Spaces to work and learn. Outfitting your home with the accessories and peripherals needed to maximize productivity whether working at home, learning from home, or both is key for many.
  9. Staying connected. With increased demand being put on our home WiFi, router sales will see an increase this holiday, with growth of 13% over last year, to allow folks to celebrate with family and friends. The Zoom lifestyle starts with strong and stable connections, but also demands quality cameras and screens to keep us in touch virtually.
  10. New year, new you. Consumers are looking for tech gadgets with health and fitness capabilities this holiday. Watches, smart home devices, small appliances and sports equipment are all equally part technology gadgets and part functional support devices tied to health and wellness.
  11. Phone home. 5G awareness has reached the masses and upgrades are becoming more compelling, but with many consumers still isolating at home will we see sales take off this holiday?
  12. Gaming goes mainstream. A renewed emphasis on accessories, momentum from the DIY and configured PC markets, the biggest slate of updated PC components, AND some of the biggest console launches ever in one holiday season? Gaming is going gangbusters this holiday.
  13. Tech is our lifeline. While gifting an experience will come with challenges due to the pandemic this year, gifting technology that brings the outside world to the safety of your home will be a focus. For families that can’t travel to be together, technology will enable them to stay connected.

For more from Stephen Baker about what’s happening and what to expect this holiday join us on October 29 for our Annual Tech Webinar —Tech Sentiment and the Retail Holiday Update.


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Megan Scott
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megan.scott@npd.com

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