Survey: Smartphones Are the Device of Choice for Holiday Shopping

More Americans than ever before will use their smartphones for holiday shopping and one in five plan to use a voice-activated smart speaker to “voice shop,” according to the Consumer Technology Association (CTA) 2017 Pre-Black Friday Survey.

Six out of 10 online shoppers (61 percent) plan to use smartphones over laptops (54 percent) and desktop computers (46 percent) for holiday shopping in November, according to the survey, which also uncovered the beginnings of a new trend: Voice shopping. One in five (19 percent) adult online shoppers plan to use voice-activated smart speakers such as an Amazon Echo or Google Home to shop in November.

"November 2017 marks a seismic shift in when and how American adults are shopping for holiday gifts," said Steve Koenig, senior director of market research at CTA. "Not only will the use of smartphones eclipse laptops and desktops for online holiday shopping for the first time, but this year also marks the introduction of what we consider to be a new sales channel. Voice-activated smart speakers will be a popular gift to give this year and play a much larger role in the shopping process. This season, voice shopping joins the channel mix — along with in-store, online, and mobile — that shoppers will use to learn about deals and buy their favorite gifts."

Tech will be the second most frequently purchased type of gift (56 percent), closely following clothing and accessories (63 percent) while surpassing toys (43 percent), according to survey findings. Additionally, survey respondents report that almost two-thirds (60 percent) of their holiday gift budget during the Black Friday shopping week (Thanksgiving Day through Cyber Monday) will go toward the purchase of tech products, led by videogame consoles, smartphones, TVs, laptops, and tablets.

"Once again, perennial tech favorites including videogame consoles, smartphones and TVs will perform well during the Black Friday shopping week — with, on average, 33 percent of consumers holding off on these types of big-ticket tech purchases until that timeframe," Koenig said. "However, expect to see wearables and smart home products, in particular, go on sale and also fly off the shelves in the coming weeks."

Over the course of the extended holiday shopping season, which spans October through December, CTA projects sales of smart speakers such as Amazon's Echo and Google Home to hit 4.4 million units, exceeding 2016 sales by 22 percent. VR headsets will also be hot items, spiking to 2.7 million units, an increase of almost 300 percent over last year. Drones will also be popular with projected sales of 1.6 million units, up 31 percent over 2016.

The survey also found that for the first time more Americans plan to shop on Cyber Monday than on Black Friday, both online and in stores. Among those planning to shop during November, the most popular timeframes include:

  • The remaining days in November after Cyber Monday (57 percent)
  • Cyber Monday (51 percent)
  • Early to mid-November, before Thanksgiving week (44 percent)
  • Black Friday (38 percent)
Designed and formulated by CTA, the 2017 Pre-Black Friday Survey was conducted Nov. 2-5, 2017, using a landline and mobile telephone sample comprising 1,006 U.S. adults.