CONSUMERS - Holiday shoppers balance choices with price concerns

24 December 2010

How has the ever-increasing flood of new tech devices – and information about them – affected consumers in the United States?

To find out, ABI Research conducted a survey of 2000 US consumers in August 2010. Participants were asked about their technology purchasing plans in the next six months and the features they most (and least often) wanted in the devices on their wishlists. The results are enlightening in view of the actual retail environment observed during the 2010 holiday shopping season.

The survey revealed that for most products (game consoles and Internet appliances excepted) price was uppermost in shoppers’ minds. For game consoles, brand outranked price as the most important factor. Price was also less critical for Internet appliances because many products carry similar pricetags.

According to industry analyst Michael Inouye: “Price-consciousness could easily explain how the TV manufacturers ended up with surplus stock; higher-end TVs did not fare as well as expected. It also forced many retailers and TV makers to offer incentives, either discounts or bundles. In many cases these bundles included 3D glasses, Blu-ray players or game consoles.” Nonetheless, many survey respondents said they intended to delay major purchases beyond the six-month window of the survey questions.

Primary Research Director Janet Wise also believes that consumers are better-educated about tech products now. “In the past, consumers may have known little about what was available and instead focused on brand, or on the advice of the retailer. Now we see more savvy consumers who look for the greatest value as well as the best prices.”

ABI Research’s Consumer Technology Barometer: The Connected Home (Q3 2010) provides insights into US consumers’ attitudes, awareness, usage patterns, purchase intentions and purchasing criteria for HDTVs, Blu-ray players, video game consoles, DVRs, digital photo frames, standard DVD players, Internet adapter boxes, Internet appliances, and media servers.

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