Tech Gifts In '18: Bigger Is Better

The trend-perfect electronic gifts this holiday season are not stripped-down bargain models, but those laden with advanced features. They’ll be as thin as possible. They’ll be smart. And if they’ve got a screen, it will be a big one.

That’s part of the prognosis for holiday giving from NPD Group’s vice president and technology expert Stephen Baker,  who altogether predicts a 3% gain over last year, led by PC and TV sales. Over the last five years, he notes, those two categories have eaten up 37% of all the holiday spending on tech items.

Overall, he says, “This holiday season will focus on growing the installed base of key consumer electronics devices. Increasing the installed base extends more technology to more people.”

His annual “Baker’s Dozen” predictions have some “big” news that probably won’t surprise you that much: “Screen sizes continue to expand in TVs, tablets, PC monitors, and smartphones. Expect 65 inch+ TVs to be the hottest segment in the TV market in 2018,” he writes.



Speakers are big news, too. Smart speakers, voice control and wireless headphones will be hot sellers. “Audio is this year’s second ‘it’  feature,” he says. “Sight without sound no longer satisfies consumers.”

Gaming accessories as gifts should jump by even more than the whopping 34% it registered as a category last year, no doubt helped by the debut of “Red Dead Redemption II,”  which was just released on Oct. 27 and is already on its way to being the biggest-selling gaming title of 2018, and some say one of the biggest ever.

Otherwise Baker sees a trend in cutting all any cords left. “Wireless charging, WiFi direct, Bluetooth sound, wireless security, Mesh Wi-Fi… cords are a thing of the past,” he writes.

And consumers want to beautify their tech. Not only are the best-selling products likely to be sleeker and thinner, they’ll be colorful, which Baker says is the way manufacturers are “improving the value and personalization of consumer electronics.”

A wild card in predicting holiday sales of tech items are the tariffs President Trump is pushing on China, where many of the products and parts are made. The looming additional 25% tariff on goods from China (on top of a 10% tariff that already started) could mean that those Black Friday deals will look very sweet in 2019, when prices could spike dramatically.  

“I don’t understand why the President is trying to put cold water on the hot economy,” Gary Shapiro, president and CEO of the Consumer Technology Associations, told the trade website CEPro. “Ten percent hurts,  but 25% makes companies reel.”

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