Connectivity Driving CE Purchases

The always-connected, always-on-the go lifestyle consumers have become accustomed to is driving the majority of their electronics purchase decisions. 

According to new research from the Consumer Electronics Association, with household penetration rates of Internet-connected devices such as Internet-enabled televisions, Blu-ray players, tablets, smartphones and portable wireless speakers are projected to grow this year. (The household penetration rate of Internet-enabled TVs, for instance, is expected to reach 24% in 2014, up from 15% in 2013; tablets are projected to reach 45% penetration up from 39% last year.)

“Connected devices have become supremely important for consumers both in the home and on the go,” Kevin Tillman, senior research analyst, market research at the CEA, tells Marketing Daily.

On the go is particularly important. According to the study, four of the five top planned purchases this year involve mobile connectivity, with the top intended purchase being a smartphone (27%). 

According to the CEA, nearly two-thirds (64%) of U.S. households now own smartphones, surpassing ownership of basic cell phones (51%) for the first time. The association predicts the smartphone market will hit $41 billion in sales this year and $45 billion in sales in 2015, before leveling off, according to Tillman. 

Other devices that consumers said they intended to purchase in 2014 include: over- or on-the-ear headphones (27%); televisions (20%), laptop, notebook or netbook computers (18%); and tablets (16%).

Meanwhile, consumers continue to make the majority of their consumer electronics purchases in a traditional brick-and-mortar retailers rather than online. Eighty-five percent of U.S. households last year made their CE purchases in a store. As consumers become more familiar with certain technologies, however, online sales will continue to grow. According to the study households who made a CE purchase online over the past year, are 49% more likely to do so in the year to come. 

“A lot of [in-store purchasing] can be attributed the more nuanced technology,” Tillman says. “People want to see and touch these devices. Brick-and-mortar stores still have a huge role to play in terms of consumer electronics retail.”

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