Electronics are again at the top of a lot of gift lists for the coming holiday season, according to the results of a Consumer Reports Holiday Shopping Poll released this week.
Here, are the five hottest electronics gifts, listed in order of respondents’ intentions to give them. I’ve added some reasons why they’re hot at the moment and, for some, details on the kind of people who are buying them:
- Video games and accessories. Planned as gifts by 28 percent of respondents. In a year where many people plan to cut back, as other survey data underlines, these are gifts that cost a lot less than most hardware. Nearly half of households with kids under 12 are planning such purchases, but so are nearly a quarter of homes with no such youngsters—underlining that games and extra Wii nunchucks aren’t just being bought for kids anymore. It helps that some of the hottest game titles of the year appeal equally to young and old players—notably Beatles Rock Band.
- Video-game consoles. Planned as gifts by 14 percent of respondents, including 25 percent of homes with kids under 12. With no new versions of consoles out this year, and the economy softening, prices have dropped for most brands. Also, after two seasons in which getting a Nintendo Wii consoles required military-level planning, the promise of its wider availability may be prompting some Wii holdouts to plan a purchase. (See our video buying guide for game consoles.)
- MP3 players, including iPods. Planned as gifts by 13 percent of respondents. A dying category, by some accounts, given rising sales of cell phones with music players, notably a certain Apple smart phone. But adding interest here is Apple’s new version of the Nano, which adds a decent camcorder and FM radio to a device that’s little bigger than a cigarette lighter. (See our MP3 player & iPod Buying Guide.)
- Laptop or netbook. Planned as gifts by 11 percent of respondents. The arrival of the new Windows 7 operating system is helping boost interest in PCs, as are dropping prices. Low price is the likely reason for pint-sized netbooks gaining traction, too. (See our Computer Buying Guide.)
- Video cameras. Planned as gifts by 11 percent of respondents. Ever-tinier price tags for ever-tinier cameras probably help explain cameras’ popularity as gifts. An insatiable appetite for images from social networkers is likely also a factor, as people seek cameras to keep their Facebook page and the like supplied with fresh photos. (See our Camcorder Buying Guide.)
Surprised that flat-panel TVs and Blu-ray players, though seemingly hot, aren’t high on the holiday gift list? The reason, I suspect, is that those who plan to buy them this holiday season are likely doing so for themselves, or for the household. Your thoughts?—Paul Reynolds