Analyst Pulse: New Consumer Electronics for the Holidays and Beyond

To better understand upcoming consumer electronic purchases, Passport Survey reached out to Euromonitor International’s global network of analysts from 80+ countries.

Smartphones and Tablets Lead the Way in Expected Purchases

As technology continues to change and improve, many consumers strive to keep up with the latest gadgets, especially during the holiday season. In fact, two-thirds of our Analyst Pulse survey respondents are planning to purchase new electronics in the coming year and over one-third have electronics on their immediate shopping list for the 2012 holiday season. Tablets and smartphones top the list of upcoming purchases in both emerging and developed markets. Tablets, in particular, are by far the most popular item among those planning to give consumer electronics over the holidays; almost half plan to give a tablet to friends or family. Similarly, looking beyond the holiday season, the most anticipated purchase is a smartphone; just over 30% of respondents plan to buy a smartphone in the coming year, presumably for their own use rather than as a gift.

Chart 1 Top Consumer Electronics Purchases Planned for the Next 12 Months


Emerging and developed market consumer electronics market research

Source:  Euromonitor International Survey—Analyst Pulse; October 2012

Note: Showing percent of respondents who plan to purchase electronics in the next 12 months in both emerging markets and developed countries

Important Product Features

Whether buying for themselves or as a holiday gift, price and technical specifications are critical to consumers looking for a new electronic device. However, beyond these two features, key differences emerge between the buying habits of men and women. In general, when shopping for new electronics, women are also quite focused on brand-name sources of quality and aesthetics. Women also are more likely to look for an upgrade over their current model. On the other hand, men are generally less concerned than women with product features outside of technical specifications and price, though design and brand still matter to this group.

Important Product Features—Men vs. Women 


Chart showing percent of respondents who indicated the following product features are important or very important

 

Source:  Euromonitor International Survey—Analyst Pulse; October 2012

Note: Showing percent of respondents who indicated the following product features are important or very important

Emergence of Online Reviews as a Top Information Source

In an age of increasing reliance on the internet, online reviews are emerging as one of the first stops for shoppers looking for information on potential consumer electronics purchases. For men, online reviews are far and away the most important information source; almost 90% of male respondents consider online reviews to be important or very important when buying a new consumer electronic. This is consistent with their general preference for independently researching products, rather than relying directly on friends, family, or salespeople. Women, meanwhile, are as likely as men to turn to online reviews, but will also turn to friends and family for recommendations just as often as they look to the internet. Both men and women are less likely to turn to ads/promotions or advice from store salespeople when looking for new electronics; however, relatively speaking, women are considerably more likely to rely on both of these “traditional” information sources.

Chart 3   Key Information Sources—Men vs. Women

Key Information Sources—Men vs. Women

Source:  Euromonitor International Survey—Analyst Pulse; October 2012

Note: Showing percent who indicated the following information sources are important or very important

Conclusion

With the holidays approaching, consumer electronics are poised to be a major gift category. Tablets, in particular, are expected to lead the way in electronic gifts, while smartphones are most popular with respondents planning to buy for themselves over the coming year. Although many shoppers seem eager to purchase new electronics, almost all are still concerned about price. Indeed, price and technical specifications top the list of product features that respondents are seeking in new electronics, whether buying for themselves or as a gift.

Business Implications

Companies that take advantage of the current interest in price by offering their products at a discount will not only boost short-term sales, but may also build a larger base of customers likely to upgrade to new models within the same brand in the future. In addition, retailers and brands should keep in mind that online reviews are now the top information sources for shoppers considering buying consumer electronics. Those that maintain a strong, positive image among their client base and elicit positive reviews can increase their sales without further spending on ads or other promotions. Finally, retailers that recognize the differences in buying behaviours between men and women will be able to better tailor their products and marketing for their target market.

Introduction to Analyst Pulse Surveys

In 2011, Euromonitor International began designing, executing and analysing its own surveys in order to expand its trusted global research. This is part of a series of articles presenting the results of its Analyst Pulse surveys. In Analyst Pulse surveys, Passport Survey reaches out to Euromonitor’s network of in-country analysts and in-house researchers around the world in order to find out more about current consumer attitudes and habits on a wide variety of topics, from economic outlook to daily activities. The Survey team collaborates with Euromonitor industry managers to identify topics and design questions. In October 2012, the Consumer Electronics team worked with Survey to develop questions about expected electronics purchases, which were answered by 301 researchers. In November 2012, 292 researchers answered questions about their upcoming holiday purchases, these questions were created in partnership with the Countries & Consumers team.

More on the sample: our global analyst network

Analyst Pulse survey results differ from other survey data cited on Passport Survey (eg, findings from the Annual Survey or Global Youth) and should be interpreted with some caution.  Analyst Pulse responses reflect the opinions and habits of several hundred of Euromonitor International’s in-country analysts and in-house researchers around the world.  As such, results reflect a great degree of geographic, economic, and cultural diversity among educated consumers.

On the other hand, Euromonitor International’s researchers do not constitute a random sample of consumers in a given country or across the globe, so their responses do not necessarily represent the opinions of a broader population of consumers.  Passport Survey presents their attitudes and behaviours in order to provide starting points for potential further investigations and sparks of tactical insight.