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What Santa’s shopping for this Christmas

by Matt Fisher , 17.12.2013

As we eat our way through our advent calendars, it becomes increasingly clear that consumers are far more generous in their Christmas gifting compared with previous years. Our research here at GFK has already flagged the front runners in this year’s race to the finish line.

The sound of Christmas

In pole position is consumer electronics. Audio devices are driving double digit revenue growth – particularly wirelessly connected products of all shapes and sizes. From portable Bluetooth speakers to high-end multi-room products, shoppers with budgets small and large are driven in droves to the wireless section of entertainment stores across the world.

We’re also seeing a significant move away from classic home cinema systems to simpler streaming options. Soundbars are proving especially popular as a one-speaker solution to consumers’ complete living room audio needs.

Console-ation prize

There has been a visible shot of adrenaline in the console and console games markets, in which the long awaited launch dates of the latest devices have been met with extravagant advertising campaigns. The strong marketing spend has achieved its purpose. Although gaming retailers were hit by double digit declines earlier in the year, the effect of the recent sales surge has put them back on top with triple digit year-on-year revenue growth. It looks like the odds of getting a new game in your stocking are higher than ever.

Lay all your cards on the tablet

Our predictions about the prevalence of tablets under the tree are certainly being realised. However, the imprint is felt more in the volume of sales than the overall revenues generated. While sales are up by at least double in many markets compared with the same period last year, the move to mass market and the resulting price drop is actually pushing downwards on the value of sales.

Peak promotional opportunities

Small home appliances are also performing well in the countdown to Christmas. Sellers who offer competitive deals on price sensitive products like coffee makers are rewarded by rapid consumer activity. Classic products with an innovative twist – like electric shavers with cooling infusions and epilators with exfoliation functionality – are generating significant interest too.

So what’s the key message here? The shift to durables – typically high-value products that permit long periods between successive purchases – is a good sign for Christmas and beyond. Consumer confidence must be returning if shoppers are prepared to allocate a greater share of their income to the receivers of their carefully chosen presents – many of whom will be very happy with what’s under the tree on the 25th.