Even as consumers’ confess a tighter spending economy for 2022 holiday shopping, peoples’ intent to buy wearable tech for health and fitness and other wellness devices appear on gifting lists in the U.S., according to the 29th Annual Consumer Technology Holiday Purchase Patterns report from the Consumer Technology Association (CTA).
In general, technology will be a top-selling category for 2022 holiday gift-giving, somewhat tempered by inflation and the increased cost of living that challenge household budgets in the fourth quarter of 2022.
Tech spending will be down about 6% in 2022 according to CTA’s estimate, with gaming and video streaming strong purchase categories on the software and services side of consumer tech.
Nearly 1 in 2 U.S. adults plan to give a health or wellness product for 2022 holiday gifting, still in post-pandemic behavior change in seeking hygienic and well-being baked into daily living. Thus, sales for air purifiers and smart/connected health monitors garner consumer interest for gifting. Connected fitness equipment demand for gifts fell from 24% of consumers intending to purchase the category to give down to 19% of consumers intending to do so. (Here’s a timely analysis on the connected fitness vs. gym membership market from Jack Stebbins on CNBC for additional context).
Smartwatch gifting will stay pretty strong in 2022 holiday present lists; CTA expects roughly the same proportion of people (about 2 in 5) intending to purchase a smartwatch for a gift. Wearable activity tracker purchases, strong in the pandemic years, will still be a mindful gift idea with the proportion of people intending to gift a tracker down from 32% in 2021 to 29% in 2022. VR headset purchase intent stays flat at about 1 in 4 consumers planning to gift one.
There’s a newer riff on gifting health-tech in the form of buying a video-streaming service for fitness. The chart on content-related products illustrates the various services that CTA assessed in the content category, led by video streaming (a la Netflix, Hulu), video game discs, gaming streaming, audio streaming (think: Spotify), digital books (say, Audible), CDs, Blue-ray discs, and vinyl gaining demand-steam reaching 25% of consumers intending to gift records.
Fitness streaming services hit 21% of gifters intending to give this emerging form of health-tech.
Health Populi’s Hot Points: Why are consumers intending to spend less this holiday season? It’s the cost-of-living and the fact that people say they just don’t have the money to spend on gifts, consumers told CTA.
One-fourth of people also said they were earning less money than last year; and last year, 35% of consumers told CTA they were earning less money than in 2020.
So one-fourth to one-third of consumers confess to earning less in wages in 2022 and 2021. Furthermore, for those consumers who are invested in 401(k) plans or directly in stock equities, they, too, feel “lighter” wallets in late 2022.
With that in mind, the last chart shows us the demand side for consumer electronics gifts — this answers the question, “what consumer tech would you like given to you for the 2022 holiday season?”
Peoples’ tech wish-lists rank smartphones and wearables the top two categories — where smartphones have held the top spot for two years in a row, and wearables jumped from #3 to #2.
These two “platforms” are on-ramps to health and well-being: for apps, for self-tracking, for social networking with other patients for peer-to-peer health care, and for managing chronic conditions such as heart disease and medication management.
Watch for more consumer health-tech innovations to be launched at the upcoming CES 2023 meeting, convened annually in Las Vegas in early January by CTA. We’ll see these trends in color and real-time come January, bolstering health citizens’ self-care and access to on-ramps like telehealth and cognitive behavioral therapy in our own hands.