amazon echoMore than a quarter (27%) of all consumer electronics (CE) purchases were made through an online retailer, according to new consumer electronics purchasing trends research released today by Parks Associates.

Brick-and-mortar retailers account for about half of the sales, while service providers and device manufacturers account for the others.

“Overall e-commerce accounts for 9-10% of all U.S. retail sales, so CE products sales are well above that average,” said Kristen Hanich, Parks Associates research analyst, in a prepared statement. “The popularity of smart speakers, in particular, [is] driving online sales, with more than 60% of recent sales going through an online retailer such as Amazon. Since intention to purchase for smart speakers is also growing year-over-year, online retailers stand to take an even larger part of CE purchases going forward.

Parks Associates: Where Consumers Most Recently Purchased Their CE Products

“Overall CE purchase expectations for 2018 are lower than reported in previous years,” Hanich added “This decline is in line with current trends, although actual purchase rates are typically higher than reported intentions, as consumers cannot always plan their purchases in advance. However, since the replacement cycles for TV and streaming devices are longer than those of smartphones, manufacturers will eventually face the challenging of convincing buyers to purchase an upgrade. One strategy is to integrate voice control into TVs and remotes, to enhance the user experience.”

Among other findings of Parks’ research about consumer electronics purchasing trends:

  • Only 21% of U.S. broadband households planned to buy a smartphone as of the first quarter of the year, compared to 28% for the first period of last year.
  • Nearly nine-in-10 (87%) of smartwatch owners rank features as one of their top five considerations prior to purchase.
  • Smart speaker households average four more CE devices than their non-smart speaker counterparts; while nearly half (45%) own 12 or more devices.

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