CTA Outlines Holiday Technology Trends, Retail Outlook

At CES Unveiled New York, held in Manhattan on November 9, the Consumer Technology Association (CTA) outlined holiday sales trends in the tech industry including those for smart home and connected health. The association also highlighted expectations for retail during the 2017 holiday season.

According to CTA research, 68% of U.S. shoppers are expected to purchase a technology gift for 2017, each spending $478 on average. When it comes to housewares, one in four U.S. adults is expected to purchase a wearable device in the coming two months. In addition, smart home purchases are expected to double this year. One in three adults are expected to purchase a smart home device. For example, 10% are expected to purchase smart robotic vacuums, according to the CTA.

In terms of retail, lower store comps and foot traffic are expected. However, the CTA predicted two store types that will not struggle for foot traffic this holiday season are pop-up shops and branded stores, such as Apple.

Online holiday shopping, according to Deloitte research, is expected to increase 18% to 21% in 2017 due to several factors. Same-day shipping, for example, has emerged as a new trend for retailers looking to compete with Amazon. Retailers such as Best Buy and Macy’s have announced same-day shipping initiatives. In addition, AI technology has begun to shape marketing initiatives and targeted marketing efforts are expected to significantly influence holiday shopping, according to the CTA.

“Retailers have been collecting a lot of customer data, and they are using that to generate shopping personas. AI has come to leverage that data and shape new marketing strategies,” said Steve Koenig, senior director of market research, CTA.

Voice shopping has also emerged in the holiday season. According to the CTA, voice shopping is expected to boom in 2018 and emerge as a new shopping channel. “Holiday is really just the first iteration of this. We are going to build upon this in 2018, and this is not all about Amazon. Retailers such as Best Buy, Target, Walmart and Home Depot are starting to align with different digital assistants. This is about the rise of voice as that fourth sales channel,” Koenig said.

He added, “We used to talk about e-commerce as something novel. Now we’re talking about voice shopping in that same way. It’s not a stretch to see how voice, especially when we think about AI, is going to become omnipresent. Using your voice, whether behind the wheel, at home or at the office, you will be able to procure product, and it will probably happen much faster than the online or mobile uptake happened.”