The Big Winners of Holiday Shopping Season: Broadband Service Providers

The US’ Consumer Technology Association (CTA) says more US consumers than ever – 68% or about 170 million people – plan to buy technology gifts this holiday season, a 6% percent increase over last year. The total holiday spend will be $36 billion, up 3.1% over last year. All of the products that the CTA lists need a broadband connection for full functionality, which further increases the demand for bandwidth both to and within the home:

CTA said the most popular gifts among emerging technology will be:

– Wearables by 27% – such as smart watches by 17% and fitness activity trackers at 15%.

– Smart home devices by 24% including smart thermostats by 10% and digital assistant devices by 6% such as Amazon’s Echo.

– Connected or digital toys by 11%.

– VR headsets by a surprisingly low 10%, perhaps because of their high prices. The CTA projected sales of 700,000 VR headsets during the holiday season.

– Drones by 9% – with projected sales of about 1.2 million units this holiday season, which is up by 112% over 2015. Drones carry cameras whose videos are almost always uploaded.

The CTA expects headphones, at 40%, will be the most popular tech gift given this year.

Missing from the CTA’s list are the millions of smartphones and tablets that will be purchased.

Shawn DuBravac, chief economist at the CTA, said, “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.”

The CTA estimates total online holiday sales will grow by 16.4% to $84.2 billion, while online sales through mobile devices like smartphones and tablets will grow by 45.2% to $20.1 billion. Its study said 57% are likely to shop for tech online this year but physical stores remain the main source of tech gift purchases 74% likely to purchase from a brick-and-mortar location – although that was down three percentage points from last year.

What do people most want as gifts? The CTA said they most want laptops, TVs, smartphones, tablets and videogame consoles – all of which needs lots of bandwidth.

The CTA said a number of things are causing buyers to be apprehensive, which indicates that the US’ economy has not fully recovered from the economic turmoil that the financiers of the real estate industry caused back in 2008. Buyers listed these concerns:

– Not having the money by 60%

– Increased cost of living by 57%

– Fixed income by 54%

– Outcome of the presidential election by 38%

DuBravac said, “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. Given uncertainty among voters, this election will impact not only when consumers begin to shop but, potentially, how much they spend.”

Thanksgiving is November 24, which means Black Friday starts about noon that day and continues until at least Friday night. That’s when there’ll be big savings on big ticket items such as 4K TVs- make sure the one you get is also HDR capable. The next big great shopping day is December 26, which often has prices that are even lower than on Black Friday. Samsung, LG and Vizio will be cutting prices deeply on some of their high-quality 4K sets that have suggested retail prices under $2,000.

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