A record-setting 116 million Americans – almost half the U.S. adult population – are planning to buy tech or tech accessories over Black Friday week, according to a report from the Consumer Technology Association.
Amazon’s Echo devices are poised to capture much of the tech enthusiasm, with awareness of those devices rising to 69% as of October, up from 20% in March 2015, according to a report from Consumer Intelligence Research Partners released Monday.
Amazon has expanded the capabilities of Echo, Alexa and related devices, which now allows customers to buy items from Amazon’s website, find a lost phone, turn on household appliances, help a cook with a recipe and text people via AT&T.
Amazon has already sold 5.1 million Amazon Echo devices in the U.S., according to CIRP’s count, and rising awareness of the device and its cousins, Dot and Tap, promises to explode that. This season, Amazon began offering special discounts to customers employing Echo’s virtual assistant, Alexa, if they asked, “Alexa, what are your deals?”
Amazon has been savvy about promoting Echo, a high-quality small speaker with a highly functioning voice assistant. But the e-commerce giant and its devices may also be benefiting from wider enthusiasm around tech devices in general.
This Black Friday looks to be a record breaker for tech, Shawn DuBravac, Ph.D., the Consumer Technology Association’s chief economist, said in a statement. “On average, half of the unit volume of newer, emerging categories sells in the fourth quarter alone – a promising indicator for these new and innovative products,” he said.
Many of the purchases are what DeBravac called “tech perennials,” including televisions, laptops and smartphones. The group predicts enthusiasm for emerging products including drones (1.2 million units expected to be sold during the 2016 holidays, a 112% increase over 2015), virtual reality headsets (700,000 headset units expected to sell this year) and digital assistant devices such as the Amazon Echo or Google Home.
The Consumer Technology Association survey found a 10 percentage point jump in the number of American adults planning to buy tech products from the Monday before Thanksgiving through Cyber Monday. A record 180 million U.S. adults plan to shop during Black Friday Week, the survey also found, with 46% of U.S. adults planning to shop online and 70% of those online shoppers planning to use mobile devices. Still, 54% of Black Friday Week shoppers still plan to stop by a physical store.