CE holiday gift spending to set record despite overall decline in gift purchases

While spending on gifts this Christmas holiday season is expected overall to decline, spending on consumer electronics is projected to reach historic highs, according to new research from the Consumer Electronics Association.

According to the "17th Annual CE Holiday Purchase Patterns Study" released Oct. 19 in an association event in San Francisco, holiday shoppers will spend an average of $232 on consumer electronics gifts — up 5 percent from 2009 and the highest level ever recorded by the association.

The anticipated increase in spending on consumer electronics stands in contrast to the decline in overall gift spending, which will drop to an average of $750 — a 2 percent drop from last year.

The study also determined the top 10 items on adults' holiday consumer electronics wish list. They include:

  • Notebook/laptop computer
  • iPad
  • eReader
  • iPod/iPod Touch
  • Videogame system
  • Digital camera
  • Big-screen TV
  • TV (unspecified)
  • Computer (unspecified)
  • Desktop PC

The study also found that nearly 70 percent plan to adjust holiday spending because they are concerned about the economy, with a third reducing expenditures for reasons related to unemployment.

"While the recession officially ended a year and half ago, consumers remain very cautious this holiday," said CEA chief economist and director of research Shawn DuBravac.