CTA Projects These Will Be the Hottest Selling Tech This Holiday Season

September 21, 2016

9:01 pm

Each year consumers fill their wishlists and shopping carts with technology, and CTA has the data showing what will likely be under your tree this year. Today at Innovate! and Celebrate, CTA’s analysts Shawn DuBravac and Steve Koenig are predicting the largest area of growth for consumer tech purchases will be due to emerging technology. From VR headsets like Playstation VR to the Amazon Echo Dot, consumers will be filling their homes with cutting edge gadgets. According to CTA 227 million U.S adults are planning on purchasing a gift this upcoming holiday season.

According to the report, CTA is projecting overall retail sales to increase by 3.8 percent this holiday season; however, electronics retailer sales will decrease by 2.9 percent. For ecommerce, online sales are projected to increase by 15.5 percent, and mobile purchases will be up a whopping 45.2 percent. Overall, they foresee a 3.1 percent on all consumer tech spending this season.


For those not planning on making purchases this year, many responses are common such as having a fixed income or not having the money. However, one response did standout among the rest: this year 38 percent of consumers said they were not going to purchase holiday gifts due to concerns with the outcomes of our upcoming presidential election. Thanks Obama.

The Wish List

If we all had unlimited amounts of money, we could of course purchase whatever we want. But we are all logical, money conscious consumers, right? According to CTA, these are what people wish they could purchase this holiday season.

  1. Notebooks (computers)
  2. TVs
  3. Smartphones
  4. Video game consoles
  5. Tablets
  6. Smartwatches
  7. VR headsets
  8. Robotic Vacuum
  9. Portable GPS

emerging tech sales

Top Consumer Tech Gifts for 2016

In reality, many of the wish list gifts do overlap with what consumers will purchase this year, but there are a few gadgets, tech, and hardware that many will purchase this holiday season.

  1. Accessories (SD cards, chargers)
  2. Computers
  3. Video (TVs, Blueray players)
  4. Emerging Tech (VR, drones, 3D printers)
  5. Wearables
  6. Smartphones
  7. Automotive
  8. Cameras
  9. Gaming
  10. Smarthome

Computers, Tablets, eReaders

53% will purchase a computing device.

Of computing devices, tablet sales are still declining. This year CTA projects just under 65,000 tablets shipped, and by 2020 it will decrease to slightly more than 55,000 per year. Less people will be looking for computers with touchscreens or even a hybrid system, but more people are interested in buying Chromebooks.


26% of consumers will purchase a smartphone, however, it will peak this year.

There is no doubt that the smartphone market is maturing, and we are seeing less innovation from the major players. On the other hand more brands are emerging, creating more competition. In the U.S., CTA projects more than 183 million smartphones will be shipped to consumers, and by 2020 there will be more than 164 million shipped.

TVs, Smart and 4K

34 percent of consumers will purchase a TV, Blueray player, or media player like Chromecast.

Of TV sales, 56 percent will purchase a 4K Ultra HD TV, and 53 percent will buy an HDR TV. Of all TV purchases, 76 percent will be connected to the internet.


24 percent of consumers will purchase some kind of camera.

Digital cameras will make up 13 percent, action cams like GoPro will take 12 percent, 360-degree cams 6 percent, and camcorders 6 percent.

Audio, Especially Wireless

53 percent of consumers plan on buying an audio gift. This can be anything from bluetooth speakers, portable wireless speakers, soundbars, headphones, and MP3 players.

Of all headphones, consumers will purchase over or on the ear headphones worth less than $100 at 53 percent, wireless at 45 percent, earbuds at 35 percent, sports or fitness at 25 percent, and over or on the ear $100 or more at 24 percent.

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Elliot is an award winning journalist deeply ingrained in the startup world and is often digging into emerging technology and data. When not writing, he's likely either running or training for a triathlon. You can contact him by email at elliot(@)elliotvolkman.com or follow him on Twitter @thejournalizer.

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