CEA Says: ‘Holiday Forecast Illustrates Need for Additional Spectrum’

ARLINGTON, VA.: The most desired consumer electronics gifts this holiday will be wireless products, according to the Consumer Electronics Association, “fueling consumer demand for devices that need additional spectrum for wireless broadband.” The CEA ran it’s 18th annual holiday buying study, examining the expected purchase patterns of consumers shopping for Christmas gifts. The top picks were tablet computers, notebooks and laptops and e-readers.

Consumer electronics of all types are expected to account for one-third of all holiday spending this year. Consumers plan to spend, on average, $246 on electronics gifts, an increase of 6 percent from last year and the highest level since CEA began tracking holiday spending, the lobby said. Computing products will lead the way, with tablets, notebook/laptops and e-readers, all wirelessly connected devices, in the top five of adults holiday electronics wish list. Tablets and notebooks/laptops trail only clothes on adults overall holiday wish list. In 2011, CEA estimates manufacturers in the United States will ship more than 72 million devices with wireless broadband capability.

“The products consumers want most this holiday all require spectrum to deliver Internet content,” said Julie Kearney, CEA’s vice president of regulatory affairs. “Congress must pass legislation to free up much needed spectrum so consumers can use these innovative technologies without limitations this holiday.”

CEA said the rapid penetration and rising popularity of tablets, e-readers and smartphones will also lead consumers to give content and services as gifts this year. One in four consumers plan to give gift cards that can be used for digital music purchases; one in five for electronic book purchases (up 7 percent from last year), 16 percent for app purchases, 14 percent for online gaming purchases and 13 percent for digital movie or TV show purchases. Movie rental/streaming subscriptions will also be the most-gifted subscription services with 13 percent of U.S. adults planning to give them.

“The facts are overwhelming. Broadcasters are sitting on broad swaths of underutilized spectrum despite the demand for mobile connected devices surging, as this holiday season demonstrates,” said Kearney. “Auctions are a win-win for consumers, broadcasters and the U.S. government. Consumers will get much needed and more reliable spectrum for their wireless devices, tens of thousands of new jobs will be created and billions of dollars will be raised to help cut the federal deficit.”