Black Friday

Streaming devices a hot commodity during Black Friday blow-out

With 57 million Americans expected to buy tech products this year, a new study puts connected TVs among the top-10 best sellers for the first time.
November 30, 2015

For the first time, streaming devices have cracked the list of the top 10 tech items in demand during Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales in the U.S., accounting for 16% of total tech sales anticipated in the week surrounding Thanksgiving.

The finding was included in a new report by the Consumer Technology Association (formerly the Consumer Electronics Association), which measures consumer-purchasing intentions during the annual blow-out shopping event.

According to the survey, smartphones, televisions and tablets are expected to maintain the top three spots this year, a trend that stays true to the findings of previous CTA surveys.

This year, though , the CTA found “emerging tech products,” notably streaming devices, in the top 10. Indeed, streaming devices ranked 10th overall based on purchases made or expected to be made by survey respondents.

The CTA estimates that nearly 57 million American adults (representing 45% of all Black Friday shoppers) have bought or plan to buy a tech product during the shopping week. The survey includes purchases made both online as well as bricks-and-mortar stores. The final survey results have yet to be tallied.

In all, American shoppers are expected to spend $40 billion over the Thanksgiving shopping week, with nearly $34 billion being on tech items, according to the survey.

The CTA did not provide a full breakdown on brands included under its streaming device category. A separate survey, however, indicates that Roku is likely to be among the brand leaders.

Recent research from Parks Associates showed that in 2014, Roku out-sold other brands of connected TV devices, representing 34% of the market. The second-most popular brand was Google, maker of Chromecast, at 23%. Amazon and Apple Devices ranked third and fourth, respectively.

Roku  has been hailed by tech publications such as The Verge and Re/Code as the best streaming device on the market. While most reviewers note that the technical specs are similar across most of the major brands, Roku edged out its competitors in terms of content (it has more than 3,000 apps and channels, while AppleTV does not contain a channel for Amazon Prime) and was deemed most likely to be able to give users access to the content they want.

Over the past months, Roku, Apple and Amazon have all unveiled their newest generations of devices, which include various updated features such as voice command, enhanced search functions and aggregated content from across subscription services.

Streaming devices are likely to be seen as more of a household essential for years to come if OTT and SVOD subscription trends continue on their current trajectories. A survey by entertainment technology company Clearleap recently found that streaming subscription reach is now on par with cable subscriptions, a trend led by cord-cutting and cord-never millennials. More than 70% of Clearleap survey respondents age 18-29 reported subscriptions to at least one SVOD or OTT service.

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