A survey conducted by the Consumer Electronics Association predicts 18.24 million units of video game hardware will ship to U.S. stores in the fourth quarter of 2010.
That puts projected game industry hardware shipments ahead of those for TVs, digital cameras and MP3 players for the period, according to CEA's 17th annual CE Holiday Purchase Patterns Study (as reported by Reuters).
The survey also shows video game systems in general as the ninth most popular item on adults' holiday wish lists, and the fifth-most-wished-for consumer electronics item. Apple's iPad, which supports downloadable games as a major feature, ranked third on overall wish lists and second among electronics item.
The September survey of just over 1,000 U.S. adults sees overall holiday quarter spending for consumer electronics reaching its highest level in 17 years.
Consumers projected to spend an average of $232 in the sector as a whole, up five percent from last year's estimate. This is despite CEA's estimate for overall holiday spending falling two percent to average $750 per consumer.
Data from the NPD group shows roughly 17.6 million units of video game hardware sold in the U.S. in the fourth quarter of 2009. Through September, NPD shows annual revenue from U.S. video game hardware sales down 13 percent compared to last year.
The fourth quarter is a crucial time for the game industry, with 50 to 60 percent of the industry's annual revenue coming from those three months, historically.