Technology poised to dominate 2017 holiday shopping season

For those of us who don’t know any better, we have come to learn that the term 4G LTE refers to wireless broadband speeds that allow us to download data and process applications faster — ten times faster, in fact — than the previous generation of broadband affectionately known as 3D.

While 3D technology required 26 hours to download a typical Hollywood movie, 4G can finish the job in just four minutes.

Pretty fast, huh?

Well, apparently not.

According to projections from the Consumer Technology Association, the next generation — 5G —is just around the corner. So, how long then will it take to download Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 in 2018?

Would you believe just under five seconds!

The Consumer Technology Association Trends/Market Research Presentation and News Conference took place on Thursday evening. (WTOP/Steve Winter)
The Consumer Technology Association Trends/Market Research Presentation and News Conference took place on Thursday evening. (WTOP/Steve Winter)

CTA reports that technology will most certainly rule the holiday shopping season. (WTOP/Steve Winter)
CTA reports that technology will most certainly rule the holiday shopping season. (WTOP/Steve Winter)

Use of smartphones is predicted to eclipse laptops and desktops for holiday shopping for the first time. (WTOP/Steve Winter)
Use of smartphones is predicted to eclipse laptops and desktops for holiday shopping for the first time. (WTOP/Steve Winter)

CTA president Gary Shapiro said there is tremendous growth in Augmented and Virtual Reality. (WTOP/Steve Winter)

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The Consumer Technology Association Trends/Market Research Presentation and News Conference took place on Thursday evening. (WTOP/Steve Winter)
CTA reports that technology will most certainly rule the holiday shopping season. (WTOP/Steve Winter)
Use of smartphones is predicted to eclipse laptops and desktops for holiday shopping for the first time. (WTOP/Steve Winter)

That factoid — and dozens of others — were unveiled Thursday evening during the Consumer Technology Association Trends/Market Research Presentation and News Conference, hosted in conjunction with their 2018 Innovation Awards Celebration and Media Showcase event in New York City.

5G will be among a dozen key topics certain to set the conversational tone this January at CES. Other hot button items are expected to include smart cities, wearables, the proliferation of digital assistants, sports technology and — perhaps most dominant of all — Augmented and Virtual Reality.

“There’s tremendous growth in both categories because it’s turning out to be a mainstream product,” said CTA President Gary Shapiro. “VR, of course, is when you have a totally fictional experience based on what you’re wearing but AR is an overlap of reality.

“It’s being used in commercial applications … in stores used to see how you look in a dress … and there so many ways people are coming up with to use it.

“It’s also used by public safety officials. When you go into a burning building, they can actually see the layout of the plans. The applications for government, civilian and commercial uses are very big and growing.”

While AR/VR is certainly booming, that’s a conversation for 2018. In the weeks to come, CTA reports that technology will most certainly rule the holiday shopping season. For the first time ever, a greater number of consumers will use smartphones (61 percent) for online holiday shopping compared to any other device, including laptops (54 percent) and desktop computers (46 percent). And what’s even more incredible is that 20 percent of those consumers will make their purchases solely through voice-activated smart speakers such as an Amazon Echo or Google Home to shop online during 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, 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,” he said.

Tech, in fact, will be the second most frequently purchased type of gift (56 percent) — closely following clothing and accessories (63 percent) while surpassing toys (43 percent). Additionally, almost two-thirds (60 percent) of the holiday gift budget during the Black Friday shopping week (Thanksgiving Day through Cyber Monday) will target technology products with the industry leaders expected to include videogame consoles, smartphones, televisions, laptops and tablets with smart speakers, drones and VR headsets following closely behind.

Steve Winter and Kenny Fried are WTOP contributors who work for Brotman|Winter|Fried, a Sage Communications Company.

This content was republished with permission from CNN.

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