Faced with a glut of technology offerings, budget-conscious consumers will turn to smaller ticket products they understand this holiday season, according to a report by marketing research firm Ipsos-Reid.
The firm predicts that wireless cellular phones, digital still cameras, and DVD players will see “relative success” this holiday shopping season. When asked which technologies in a list of 11 they were most likely to buy in the next three months, respondents rated wireless phones (26 percent), digital still cameras (24 percent), and DVD players (24 percent) as the items they are the most likely to acquire.
“It comes as no real surprise, given the economy now compared to the economy just two years ago, that the newness of a technology has become much less important than its practicality — the way it fits into a person’s life, how easy it is to use and whether its cost matches its perceived benefit,” said Tom Neri, president of Ipsos-Reid Marketing Research in the U.S. “Price will be an issue, but also important will be how well the benefits of a given technology have been communicated to the public. We’re already seeing this in some of the early-season sales figures that have been released.”
However, some smaller-ticket items will be less popular this season, such as the PDA and the MP3 player. And what of big ticket items? It doesn’t look good. Besides tighter budgets, consumers are confused over some big-ticket items such as HDTV, Neri said.
While the industry estimates that over 4 million HDTVs have been sold so far in the U.S., new demand for this item and related home theater products seems to be relatively limited among the broad population, he added. Neri attributes part of this lack of demand to the industry’s struggle to communicate the value and benefits of getting HDTV right now.
The Ipsos-Reid survey found that about 74 percent of Americans are aware of HDTV, but of this number only 10 percent are “very familiar” with it while 36 percent are “somewhat familiar”. And the largest percentage (54 percent) of consumers who are aware of HDTV “have heard of HDTV but don’t know anything about it.”