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Here’s How Holiday Shoppers Are Buying Electronics This Year5 min read

October 22, 2020   |   4 min read
How consumers will be shopping for electronics this holiday season

Here’s How Holiday Shoppers Are Buying Electronics This Year5 min read

Reading Time: 4 minutes

The holiday season is finally upon us! And with the festivities comes the busiest time for retailers across the globe. Amid popular gifting categories, the consumer electronics segment is expected to account for 47% of total offline and online holiday sales in the US alone. Tech devices have ranked as the top 5 most searched gift categories on google for two years in a row!

Today, the consumer electronics segment continues to grow at an unprecedented rate, with the industry value expected to reach $1787 billion in 2024.

Current trends also suggest that almost 52% of total sales revenue in this segment will come from online channels by 2023. 

Even if consumers  had prior apprehensions about purchasing electronics through e-commerce outlets, the pandemic has changed their mindset. The U.S. is still largely struggling with the aftermath of the pandemic. Consumers are avoiding crowded spaces such as stores during the holidays, thus pushing them to use online platforms or BOPIS.

Consumer Trends in Electronics Retail in 2020

  1. The need to work from home has resulted in additional demand for electronics and access to high speed networks . The surge in this demand will continue as this situation is predicted to extend well into 2021!
  1. Many electronics, prior to 2020, fell under the non-essential category of goods (microwaves, dishwashers, routers, keyboards). But most of these items have now become essential at a time where stepping outside poses a risk. 
  1. Home learning has seen a stratospheric rise, with students taking  zoom classes and having to submit assignments virtually. As a result there has been a steady rise in the student electronics segment in e-commerce retail 
  1. Home entertainment is no longer a luxury, but a necessity. Lockdowns are being lifted across the country. But families are still wary to step outside and rely heavily on home entertainment solutions. Large screen TVs, projectors, sound systems, speakers and headphones fulfill consumers’ need for entertainment at home 

These trends are expected to continue to grow and fuel customer purchase patterns over the holiday season. 

The Best Buy Example

  • The electronics retailer has been successful in introducing new avenues for sales over the course of this year and has seen a 185% growth in online sales alone! 
  • The implementation of omnichannel services—buy online pick up in store and curbside pickup in particular—represented 41% of digital sales in the second quarter. 
  • Best Buy also enhanced its curbside pickup experience by adding a feature that will let customers know about high and low traffic times, particularly when they are in the parking lot waiting for curbside pickup orders.
  • In September the company launched a ship-from-store model to handle significant volume pre-holiday and year-round. All stores will continue to ship out online orders, but approximately 250 locations will be able to ship out significantly more

The retailer has also kicked off the holiday shopping season by releasing its exclusive deals  two weeks in advance to minimise crowding in stores. And to ensure effective order handling!

Best Buy continues to thrive and also expects to see a surge in sales like no other this festive season.

Some of the other key players in the electronics e-commerce industry, including Amazon, Alibaba, Shopify, eBay, Walmart, Target, Flipkart, and Slickdeals have ramped up their digital storefronts to provide customers with the best buying experience from the comfort of their home with the implementation of:

In-app augmented reality 

Larger e-tailers like Alibaba, Amazon and Shopify are adapting in-app AR tools to help customers better visualise the products of their choice and make informed purchase decisions. The implementation of this technology will gradually close the gap between in store and online shopping experiences. For example,customers can get a better sense of how a home theatre system or a Television will look in their homes by using the AR technology before making a purchase

Voice Searches on Sites 

Voice assistants have managed to make life a whole lot easier. Everything we need is one simple command away. This year, large online technology retailers have added voice enabled commands onto their shopping sites, whereby customers can search, transact, order and purchase online through a simple command. For example, 

  • Amazon has added Alexa’s logo in the US app for a voice shopping feature.
  •  Flipkart launched their multilingual Voice Assistant (in English and Hindi) on their app, which enables its users to now talk to their app to search and place an order.

Snap & Shop 

With the snap and shop feature, customers need only upload images of a desired product they’ve come across in person or on social media, and apps will be able to find and purchase the same from an online store

  • Amazon’s firefly technology allows customers to click pictures of a product category they desire. And immediately provides them with buying options and great deals!
  • Ebay’s Image search allows shoppers to take a picture. Or select one saved on their smartphone, and enter it in eBay’s mobile search (personalized search) bar. That sends the marketplace on a quest to match the image to its 1.1 billion products! Followed by surfacing the most visually similar products on the search results page.

With these significant trend shifts come the need to be prepared for the holiday season rush online. When shopping for electronics, customers tend to get overwhelmed by the sheer number of options available. They can get thrown off when they are unable to find that one perfect gift.

This is where AI powered technology can help.

  1. Brand-based Journeys: Showcase products that belong to the same brand, which the shopper is likely to be interested in. This will help in increasing customer retention through brand loyalty.
  2. Enhanced Product Discovery: Build affinities: product to product and product to shopper, to offer the best substitute and complementary products.
  3. Personalized Marketing can transform a one-time shopper into a repeat shopper with personalized retention marketing.

With more trends cropping up in the e-commerce electronics market, retailers can definitely expect to see a shift online. In fact, $2.9 billion worth of Black Friday sales happened through mobile phones in 2019. And with the world recovering from the effects of the pandemic, this number is sure to see a steep increase this year. 

Read more about AI-powered solutions for electronics retail e-commerce here.

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