Online Consumer Technology Shopping Continues to Grow, But Who’s Spending the Most on Some of the Industry’s Major Categories

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Buyers aged 18-34 consistently purchased notebook computers and headphones with the highest price point, according to NPD's Checkout

Despite these pricing disparities all consumers, especially younger ones, are shopping online for value and we’re seeing that traditional retailers have been able to apply successful in-store models to their online presence to compete effectively in product and price with online retailers.

According to NPD’s Checkout E-commerce data, online technology spending in the U.S. increased 10 percent in the 12 months ending March 2019 compared to year ago. But while consumers are increasingly shopping online, consumers aged 18-34, 35-54, and 55+ are prioritizing their spend across major technology categories differently.

Based on Checkout e-commerce data, buyers aged 18-34 consistently purchased notebook computers and headphones with the highest price point. In fact, this willingness to pay a premium on notebooks and headphones held true for three consecutive years (12ME March 2019, 2018, and 2017). In the 12 months ending March 2019, this age group purchased notebooks online with an average sales price (ASP) 17 percent higher than those 35-53 and 13 percent higher than those 55+.

On the other hand, consumers in the 18-34 age range are selecting LCD TVs at a slightly lower price point than their older counterparts. For the 12 months ending March 2019, 18-34 year olds purchased LCD TVs online with an ASP 3 percent lower than 35-54-year olds and 6 percent lower than those 55+.

“Younger consumers continue to see extraordinary value in PCs and remain committed to buying the best PC they can afford. In TVs, overall ASP declines have allowed all consumers to spend less on larger screens and enhanced features than they have in the past,” said Stephen Baker, vice president, industry advisor for The NPD Group. “Despite these pricing disparities all consumers, especially younger ones, are shopping online for value and we’re seeing that traditional retailers have been able to apply successful in-store models to their online presence to compete effectively in product and price with online retailers.”

All three age groups consistently purchase headphones, notebooks, LCD TVs, and tablets with a higher ASP through traditional retailer websites than through pure play online retailer sites. The ASP of headphones purchased by each age group through traditional retailer websites was more than double the ASP of those bought through pure play online retailers. For the 12 months ending March 2019, traditional retailer websites made up 44 percent of online U.S. CE dollar sales for these items.

Source: The NPD Group, Checkout E-commerce, April 2018- March 2019 vs. April 2017- March 2018
*Traditional retailer websites are represented by brick-and-mortar retailers that sell consumer electronics both in-store and online.

Checkout offers robust data for tracking and improving performance across all channels plus buyer analytics to help businesses keep current customers and win new ones. The Checkout Omnipanel tracks online and in-store sales. A complementary e-commerce panel delivers more granular views of sales through the fastest growing channel with access to over 1 million consumers via our research partner Rakuten Intelligence. Buyer analytics deliver insight into most valuable customers, brand loyalty, brand leakage / lift, brand launches, and more.

About The NPD Group, Inc.
NPD offers data, industry expertise, and prescriptive analytics to help our clients grow their businesses in a changing world. Over 2000 companies worldwide rely on us to help them measure, predict, and improve performance across all channels, including brick-and-mortar and e-commerce. We have offices in 27 cities worldwide, with operations spanning the Americas, Europe, and APAC. Practice areas include apparel, appliances, automotive, beauty, books, B2B technology, consumer technology, e-commerce, fashion accessories, food consumption, foodservice, footwear, home, juvenile products, media entertainment, mobile, office supplies, retail, sports, toys, travel retail, video games, and watches / jewelry. For more information, visit npd.com. Follow us on Twitter: @npdgroup and @npdtech.

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Megan Scott
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