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Cash, Electronics and Gift Cards Top Holiday Wish List this Season

Video Games Are a Hot Item; E-books and Tablet Computers Make Inroads
68 Percent Plan to Give Something Not Many Want – Clothing

Consumer ReportsYonkers, NY – Shoppers need not look any further than their wallets in search of the perfect holiday gift. Money is among the most wanted gift this year. That’s according to a new Consumer Reports Holiday Shopping Poll, which also found that 58 percent of people plan on giving cash as a gift this year.

Aside from cold-hard cash, Americans also cited electronics and gift cards as the most desirable gifts to both give and get. The full results of this latest poll are available at www.ConsumerReports.org.

“You can’t fault consumers for focusing on the fundamentals,” said Tod Marks, Consumer Reports senior editor and resident shopping expert. “Cash makes a great gift because people can buy something they really need or really want.” 

Here’s the breakdown on what Americans plan to bestow on others this holiday season: clothing (68%), electronics (62%), gifts cards (62%), toys (62%) and cash (58%).

“Dropping prices on mature products like TVs and laptops, and some hot new categories like tablet computers and e-book readers, have helped keep electronics on the top of many gift lists this holiday season,” said Paul Reynolds, electronics editor of Consumer Reports.

Other highlights from the first Consumer Reports Holiday Shopping Poll of 2010 include:

Popular Electronics

  • Video games are the most popular electronics item this year with 39 percent of adults considering giving them as a gift.  And in households with kids under 12, over half (59%) plan to do so.
  • Video game accessories are a hot commodity as well. Eighteen percent consider buying them.  That’s not too surprising, taking into account the upcoming – and much-anticipated – Microsoft Kinect and Sony Move motion-sensitive controllers.
  • Video games aren’t for everyone. Other popular electronics that people plan on giving this year include MP3 players or iPods (18%), digital cameras (14%), digital photo frames (11%), and GPS devices (10%).   Despite lower prices and new 3D technology, only 8 percent of people are planning on giving a TV as a gift.
  • Improved, Wi-Fi-enabled e-book readers and tablet computers are among the newer technologies available to shoppers this holiday season.  E-book reader manufacturers may see an increase in sales thanks to newer features and lower prices as 10 percent of Americans plan to give one, up 6 percentage points from last year.  Eight percent of adults are considering giving new technology – iPads and other tablet computers – as a gift.  

Gift Cards: A Popular Gift that Goes Unused

  • Gift cards are a hot ticket despite drawbacks.  Many people plan on buying gift cards (62%) and many named them as their most wanted gift (13%).
  • Though recent Federal rules have placed restrictions on onerous fees and ridiculously short expiration dates, the negatives haven’t disappeared completely. What’s more, as of mid-October, just over a quarter (27%) of those who received a gift card last year have yet to use one of them, often because they did not have time (51%) or they simply forgot about it (41%).

Consumer Reports Holiday Shopping Poll Methodology

The Consumer Reports National Research Center conducted two telephone surveys of a nationally representative probability sample of telephone households.  1,023 interviews were completed among adults aged 18+ between January 7th–10th, 2010 for the post 2009 holiday data.  Another 1,010 interviews were completed among adults aged 18+ between October 14th–18th, 2010.  The margin of error is +/- 3% points at a 95% confidence level.


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