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NPD Reports on Holiday 2016 Trends and Expectations

During a recent webinar, market research group NPD discussed Black Friday shopping trends and holiday expectations for 2016.

According to NPD, the combination of an early Black Friday and Christmas falling on a Sunday this year is driving later shopping by consumers. In prior years consumers completed their shopping earlier, leading to a drop off in sales leading into Christmas, but they expect Super Saturday, which falls on Christmas Eve this year, to drive significant sales. This means there remains time for retailers to capitalize on the holiday season.

Trends among shoppers also showed a high response for experiential gifts, like activities or spa days. For the technology space, this means VR, drones, cameras, and other interactive tech devices. NPD also reported 63% of people intended to make purchases for themselves while buying gifts, a major increase over previous years, and retailers should stock products that appeal to end users in addition to giftable options.

Among devices, consumers are trending towards larger displays and premium features, NPD reports. Tablets like the iPad Pro and phones like the iPhone 7 Plus and Google Pixel XL outperformed lower cost competitors and retailers should choose their accessory offers accordingly.

Other accessories, like wearables, have seen a decrease in demand due to a lack of innovation in new models, NPD said. VR saw similar results, with lower priced solutions commanding most of the attention, making low-price VR accessories a must-stock. The lower prices in the drone market have driven an increase in demand, with consumers showing more interest in options priced as high as $500-600 as they become more informed about their features and performance.

Trends in audio accessories are mostly connected to Bluetooth, according to NPD. Driven by the iPhone 7 and the elimination of the 3.5mm headphone jack, premium Bluetooth headphones have seen the greatest growth and offer an ideal combination of giftability and wide range of price points, providing an option at every budget.

With weeks still remaining before Christmas and NPD's prediction of a late surge in shoppers, now is the time to replenish inventory and finish strong during the home stretch of the holiday season.

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