What Holiday Wish Lists Mean for Content in the Coming Year

More than three-quarters (76%) of consumers plan on purchasing electronics in the 2012 holiday season, according to Consumer Electronics Association market research experts Shawn DuBravac and Steve Koenig, who discussed the findings at this year’s recent Consumer Electronics Show New York Press Preview.

Here are the top trends, and how brand content factors in:

1. A Tablet Nation

The Forecast

At the top of everyone’s list this year? Tablets. “We expect 32 million tablets to sell just in the last three months of the year,” says DuBravac. Interestingly, the line dividing phones from tablets is shrinking. “There’s still a lot of hardware innovation in these two categories [of phones and tablets],” says DuBravac.

What It Means For Content

According to, a recent study by the Online Publishers Association showed that “tablet users are fairly willing to pay publishers for content that is entertaining and highly visual (magazines, books and movies), less so for straight news and newspaper content.”

Meaning, high-impact visual content — from glossy magazines to Pinterest albums —rules the tablet universe.

2. Smartphones…for Everything

The Forecast

Remember when a cell phone was a device you primarily carried around to take and receive calls? Today’s smartphone’s devices are “hubs,” says DuBravac, far more than just communication or entertainment devices. Mobile technology is driving everything from health and fitness industries to cars, and it’s all “building up around the devices we carry around on a day to day basis.”

What It Means For Content

A recent study by Millenial Media shows that entertainment content has exploded.

Entertainment content creators, take note: reports, “A vast majority of entertainment content accessed was of the special promotional variety, created with the express purpose of spreading the word and building buzz about an upcoming film or TV show.”

3. Ultra High Def TV

The Forecast

“Consumers are changing how they consume entertainment,” says DuBravac. “[They] are shifting toward larger screen displays.” Jumbo-screen LCD TV shipments on the rise, as consumers are looking for a more cinematic experience at home. UltraHD is projected to reach 9% of the total TV market by 2016. TV ranks high on 10% of American adults’ tech wish lists.

What It Means For Content

TV content might seem to be winding down, with the rise of video on demand (VOD), which has given consumers the ability to bypass ads. But we’re talking about the decline of the traditional 30-second-commercial spots. Luckily, Smart TV  the “holy grail for content and advertising” according to the Guardian Newspaper — succeeds in engaging consumers where ads couldn’t.

According to the Guardian, success for brands on TV now means going back to content basics, as “simple branded apps that provide quick actions like gaming, voting, polling, and quick-fire services can act as companions to long-form broadcast content.” Basically, content should augment entertainment, not interfere with it.

4. Digital Cameras

The Forecast

Digital cameras are down 7.6% this holiday season, and camcorders are likely to go down 51% (maybe because in 2009, an overwhelming 73% of us planned to give them as gifts).

Now, “Consumers have a wealth of experience using digital imaging,” says Koenig, “and they looking for something a little bit more.” Within the camera category, point-and-shoot might slump, but DSLRs are still looking good. Koenig and DuBravac predict that 776,000 of the higher quality single-lens reflex cameras will fly off shelves this season.

What It Means For Content

 Nowadays, everyone’s a photographer. Images are the new text  they are the pillars of hugely popular social media sites like Pinterest and Instagram, and with the rise of digital consumption, it’s more important than ever that content reflects the shift in American tech language.

According to one Fast Company article, “Brands can use visual content on their social media to increase engagement and inspire sharing and viral marketing,” and “Brands that rock visual media will find themselves market leaders.”

5. Audio

The Forecast

MP3 Players are trending down this year. However, though the music we listen to, and the way we listen to it, may change  sound quality is still paramount. Right now, consumers are moving from “fixed audio systems to something more portable,” Koenig says. The audio category, covering everything from wireless MRAV systems to soundbars, represents 28% of consumer’s planned purchases this holiday season.

What It Means For Content

There are several reasons why radio brand content is still effective. For one thing, radio has always targeted specific demographics  like classic rock for your Uncle Paul— and it’s only getting more user specific, with the advent of customizable apps like Pandora and Spotify.

Radio doesn’t get left behind when users leave the house — it’s got a huge reach. Jim Kerr, vice president of strategy for Triton Digital Media, predicts that radio will start to “significantly embrace location-based mobile services.” Content that feels customized will be huge: DJ endorsements, location-based deals, and apps offering perks like exclusive concerts are just the tip of the radio iceberg.

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