Report: Tech spending to be down for the holidays

In its ninth annual holiday spending survey, NPD finds that few consumers plan to spend more this season, and fewer people plan to buy electronics.

Don Reisinger
Former CNET contributor Don Reisinger is a technology columnist who has covered everything from HDTVs to computers to Flowbee Haircut Systems. Besides his work with CNET, Don's work has been featured in a variety of other publications including PC World and a host of Ziff-Davis publications.
Don Reisinger
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Consumer purchasing plans for the coming year, compared to last year.
Consumer purchasing plans for the coming year, compared to last year. The NPD Group

Most consumers plan to spend the same amount of money in the upcoming holiday shopping season as they did last year, and they plan to buy fewer games and electronics this year, NPD found in its annual holiday survey.

Some 61 percent of consumers say they will spend about the same amount of money this year as they did during the last holiday shopping season. Just 9 percent of respondents said they would spend more than last year. And 30 percent said they plan to spend less. By comparison, in 2009, 11 percent of respondents said that they planned to spend more than in 2008.

Such consumer buying decisions will directly impact every industry, NPD said. The research firm found that 24 percent of consumers say they'll spend money on movies and DVDs this year, down from 29 percent in 2009. Only 16 percent of respondents plan to buy consumer electronics this year, compared to 24 percent last year. About 20 percent of consumers said they planned to buy gaming consoles and video games last year, but this year, that figure has declined to 15 percent.

Price will play a major role in buying decisions this year, NPD found. The firm said that 60 percent of respondents will be influenced by a product's price before buying it. "Specials" will be considered by 58 percent of respondents before they buy. Having products available in a "convenient location" was something 47 percent of respondents said they care about.

"Even though the recession is technically over, lingering concerns are keeping consumers in a cautious frame of mind," Marshal Cohen, chief industry analyst at NPD, said in a statement. "We are seeing what I call 'calculated consumption.' And I believe that it is a consumer mindset that will be around after holiday shopping is over."