Connected CE, streaming devices to dominate holiday sales
Michelle Clancy
| 25 November 2014
Connected entertainment devices, including game consoles and streaming media devices, will be among the most popular gifts for the holiday season, according to Parks Associates.

Among connected CE devices acquired in 2014, 37% of smart watches, 25% of streaming media devices (including players like the Roku 3 and sticks like the Google Chromecast), and 20% of gaming consoles were received as gifts.

Streaming media devices are highly affordable and generally do very well during the holiday shopping season, the firm noted. Parks Associates analysis shows streaming sticks will account for a larger percentage of streaming media device sales in 2014 than they did in 2013.

"In 2013, 46% of Google Chromecasts and 37% of streaming media players, such as the Roku 3 and Apple TV, were purchased as gifts," said Barbara Kraus, director of research at Parks Associates. "The two new streaming sticks this year the Roku HDMI Streaming Stick and the Amazon Fire TV Stick have similar functionality as the regular streaming players at a much lower price point. However, the Amazon Fire TV Stick will not be available until mid-January, which leaves the field open for Google and Roku."

Kraus noted that, with the exception of the headset jack and gaming controllers, the Roku stick has essentially the same features and functionality as the Roku 3. This benefit is important to consumers, who, when shopping for a streaming media device, largely based their decision on the features over the price of the device.

"Success of streaming media devices, both sticks and players, hinges in large part on younger consumers' preference for online VOD," said Glenn Hower, research analyst at Parks Associates. "Over 70% of video consumption still occurs on the television. The experience of watching on the big screen is still a key part of the video-viewing event, and purchasing a streaming device is simply an easier process than the research and price comparison involved with flat-panel TV purchases."