Article | October 23, 2020

2020 Holiday Hot Products and Shopping Trends

Prabhat Agarwal

By all accounts, 2020 has been a tumultuous year —the world was afflicted with a pandemic that has altered how people work, live, learn and accomplish everyday activities like grocery shopping, eating out and commuting.

During this period, the role of technology in our lives has been amplified and has never been greater. With the holiday season fast approaching, consumers will continue to seek technologies that help them lead better lives.

The Consumer Technology Association (CTA)® 27th Annual Consumer Technology Holiday Purchase Patterns report highlights shopping themes and identifies gifts consumers are looking for this season, including the top five tech gifts on wish lists. The study revealed that eight out of 10 (81%) consumers were unaffected or more likely to purchase tech products this holiday season, strengthening the notion that the desire for technology in the face of heavy economic headwinds remains strong.

Smartphones and Gaming Consoles Are This Season’s Hot Products

This year’s wish list, which constitutes products that consumers desire, includes a new entrant into the top five and a new leader at the top of the pack: Topping the 2020 wish list is smartphones, which was ranked second last year.

With smartphone replacement rates exceeding four years, as reported the CTA Industry Sector Forecast: Mobile and Wireless 2019-2024, and given pent-up demand, smartphone interest during this holiday season is expected to be strong, with 45% expecting to purchase one as a gift (up from 41% in 2019). 5G phones are at the top of the smartphone buy list, with two-thirds of the buyers expecting to purchase a 5G smartphone and approximately one-in-seven (15%) planning to get a foldable phone.

Entering the top five products this year was gaming consoles at number three, rising from seventh place in 2019. With many consumers still limiting social activities, indoor restaurant dining and moviegoing, home entertainment products such as video game consoles are seeing strong demand compared to 2019 levels.

This holiday season, 38% plan to acquire a game console (compared to 33% last year). Of those planning to get a console, next-gen units were the most popular at 59%. Additionally, 70% indicated they plan to purchase at least one content-related product this season, such as a gaming, video or audio streaming service.


of consumers were unaffected or more likely to purchase tech products this holiday season


of consumers are expecting to purchase a smartphone as a gift


of consumers plan to acquire a gaming console this holiday season

Consumers Expanding In-Home Computing

The increased need to work and educate-at-home this year have also amplified interest in laptops, desktop computers and multi-function printers this holiday season. Consumers will continue to accessorize and expand in-home workspaces and computing capabilities. As a result, 30% of consumers are planning to purchase a notebook or laptop computer, which are ranked number two on the holiday wish list.

Interest in desktop computers is at 25% (up from 22%) and computer monitors is up to 24% (21% in 2019). Overall, almost two-thirds (62%) of consumers plan to purchase a computing gift this holiday season. 

27th Annual Consumer Technology Holiday Purchase Patterns

Read more about the technology products and services consumers are planning to purchase this holiday season, including where consumers plan to shop and how safety will be key determining factor on where consumers plan to shop.