Online Electronic Gifts To Hit $22 Billion

    November 16, 2007

More than 14 percent of the almost $160 billion spent on consumer electronics (CE) over the last 12 months was spent online according to a study by the Consumer Electronics Association (CEA) "The State of CE Retail."

Consumer electronic products trail only books and clothing as the items most often purchased online. Desktop PCs, wireless phone and digital cameras are the most popular consumer electronics products for online shoppers. Shoppers said they are satisfied with their online and in-store experiences.

"It’s terrific to see high satisfaction with both the in-store and online shopping experiences, especially as we move into the busy holiday shopping season," said Tim Herbert, CEA’s senior director of market research. CEA projects that people will spend a record $22 billion on consumer electronics gifts this holiday season.

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A majority of consumers gave both online (89%) and in-store (80%) experiences ratings of good or excellent. Brick-and mortars had strong improvements in product information, wait times while in line, and salesperson knowledge. Survey results indicate that selection and convenience are the main advantages of purchasing consumer electronics online.

"For savvy consumers, shopping online offers a wider variety of products and the ability to quickly compare prices," said Herbert. "As a result, online shoppers have an opportunity to make a more informed purchasing decision."

The growth of online purchasing also creates an opening for traditional CE retailers. Brick and mortar retailers are the most commonly visited sites by online CE shoppers. More shoppers go online to research and compare prices and then buy in the store (47%) than vice versa (17%). An increasing number of people (11%) are going online and then picking the item up in the store, creating more selling opportunities in the process.

"Consumers see the online and in-store experiences as complementary," said Herbert. "While the Internet provides information to evaluate the options and easily complete a transaction, physical stores are an important part of the equation, allowing buyers to see the product first hand and take it home immediately."