Survey: Hot Tech for the Holiday

I recently ran a survey asking consumers what categories they have prioritized on their Holiday Season shopping list, either for themselves or as a gift. Here are the results.

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As you can see, it looks like tablets will again have a good holiday quarter, as they typically do. I can see a product like the $50 Amazon Kindle Fire doing exceptionally well during the holidays as more and more consumers get drawn to the idea of low-cost tablets for pure entertainment consumption for the car, shed, living room, etc. As we learned last holiday season, this low-cost tablet dynamic is a trend I expect to continue.

I also believe the iPad will see an uptick. Other supporting data I have suggests a portion of the iPad 2 installed base may be ready to upgrade and that alone should be enough to help iPad sales a bit.

Headphones are also a category that has typically done well during the holidays. Beats rode this trend for a while but Bose headsets are rising in the buying polls as well. Retailers I have spoken with are already seeing the headphone category gain momentum.

Lastly in the top three are health and fitness wearables (I asked a separate question on Apple Watch and other smartwatches). This category has been gaining momentum over the past six months and Fitbit has remained the beneficiary of this momentum. I expect them to have the lion’s share of sales in this segment during this upcoming holiday season.

Having done holiday buying analysis many times before, there isn’t much here that surprised me. You’ll note I asked specifically about the Apple Watch since I’m keeping a close eye on this product, but I also asked a general smartwatch question as well, covering the category outside of the Apple Watch. Where the Apple Watch falls on this list does not surprise me given how new the category is. I’m also not surprised at the overall lack of interest in smartwatches in general from consumers. For wrist-based tech, the dedicated fitness products are where most the market is leaning right now.

Lastly, I want to touch on laptops. I’ve been running a number of specific studies on the PC market. In nearly every study I run, ranging from intent to upgrade existing PC in next 6 months or 12 months, the range is consistently in the 20-30% of consumers saying they intend to buy a new PC at any time in the next year. The holiday is typically a good quarter for PCs and the category should do well when we include 2-in-1 PCs where the combined products make up 35% of respondents indicating intent to buy. Worth noting is the data from other studies I’ve done recently that only four PC brands rank in consideration to purchase. They are, in no particular order, Dell, HP, Apple, and Microsoft.

Also, expect a healthy portion of this holiday tech shopping to happen on Black Friday. During this study, I asked which promotional events will motivate tech purchases the most and Black Friday ranked the highest with 48% of consumers saying Black Friday deals will influence their tech purchase timing the most.

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Ben Bajarin

Ben Bajarin is a Principal Analyst and the head of primary research at Creative Strategies, Inc - An industry analysis, market intelligence and research firm located in Silicon Valley. His primary focus is consumer technology and market trend research and he is responsible for studying over 30 countries. Full Bio

715 thoughts on “Survey: Hot Tech for the Holiday”

  1. Anecdata: Only a year after upgrading our Ipad 2’s to Airs, I’m thinking it may be time to upgrade to Air 2’s. There are three reasons, all having to do with my spouse, whose impairments prevent her from sitting up in order to use a laptop, so her ipad is her only computer (we get two in case one breaks, so my ipad is officially her spare).

    First, her ipad is full — between art she’s started to draw in Procreate, her ebook library, and games, 16gb isn’t quite enough anymore. We’re making do for the moment by occasionally moving finished drawings off the ipad to a laptop, and by no longer keeping her entire ebook library on the device (it’s all in dropbox, so she can get to the books anytime), but this is the first time we’ve felt that the default storage amount was no longer enough. (It doesn’t help that Heroes of Might and Magic almost doubled in size with the last update – somehow adding Chinese localization takes up an extra 700mb!?!?!?).

    Second, she runs into frequent frustrations with Safari reloading pages after she’s switched away to check something in Notes or in Pages (still using IOS 8 here, for jailbreak reasons). So 1gb of RAM is starting to look not quite enough anymore, either.

    Finally, I’m pretty sure she will find split view incredibly useful, once the jailbreak for IOS 9 lands, and that’s only available on the Air 2.

    So, I’ve created an alert to let me know when a refurbished Air 2 becomes available in the Canadian Apple store. That may take a while – currently people (ebay scalpers?) are snapping them up very fast before I can get to the store whenever they come into stock, because the exchange rates mean right now they’re cheaper (even after 13% tax) than the same Ipads in the US store.

    Then again, if the Ipad Air 3 (or whatever it’s called next year)
    includes pencil support, I will definitely be buying that for her as well, because art. Thankfully I can subsidize about half the purchase price of a new ipad with the sale of the old one on Ebay, but it’s still going to be an expensive couple of years for gadgets around here.

    1. First off, I wish you success in getting, and enjoying, the devices you want. Whatever they may be.

      Your case highlights the cynical approach to designing a device with built in obsolescence. It’s absolutely unacceptable that you can’t increase storage on an iOS device.

  2. IBM Watson Trend is predicting Apple Watch based on its collected data to be the number gift. The system also predicts most of the holiday shopping will be conducted on a mobile device. I’m personally purchasing using my smart phone. It’s convenient.

  3. “Other supporting data I have suggests a portion of the iPad 2 installed base may be ready to upgrade”

    We’re in this camp with our iPad 2s approaching five years old and still going strong. We got the 64 GB model, since we use them a lot for creative work, school work, business work. I think that has helped extend the lifespan, having lots of storage on them. But we’ll be looking to buy new iPads at some point in 2016.

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