Connected Devices Propel CE Industry


The consumer electronics industry is on pace to grow more than anticipated during 2012. Recent numbers suggest the market will have a record year, and that means connected electronics (an ever-growing portion of the industry) should also see significant growth.

Research from CEA (Consumer Electronics Assn.),, indicates the overall CE (consumer electronics) industry will grow an estimated 5.9% in the U.S. this year, which is two points higher than the organization had previously projected in January. Overall, CEA says industry sales will surpass $206 billion this year, marking the first time yearly industry revenues in the U.S. are expected to reach more than $200 billion. In 2013, it is projected industry revenues will grow 4.5%, reaching $215.8 billion

The president of CEA, Gary Shapiro, says consumer desire for connected devices is what’s pushing revenues higher than anticipated. Tablets in particular have been leading in sales. CEA expects tablet shipment revenues to reach $29.1 billion this year, $10.8 billion more than forecasted in January. This number also represents 83% sales growth year-over-year.

Steve Koenig, CEA’s director of industry analysis, calls tablets “the fastest-growing product category in the history of the CE industry ...” Other analysts seem to agree. A recently released study from Strategy Analytics,, says the tablet market “will not plateau any time soon.” The research firm expects the overall installed base of tablet computers to surpass 780 million in 2016.

Smartphones should also see strong growth. According to CEA, the category will remain the primary revenue driver for the industry. CEA says it expects shipment revenues for smartphones to reach $33.7 billion in 2012, with the number of units shipping to dealers up 24% from 2011. And it’s not just mobile devices that have snagged the interest of consumers. Sales of network-enabled TVs are projected to surpass 10 million, says CEA, growing 56% in 2012.

One theme CEA sees in the marketplace is a shift toward multipurpose devices. Instead of buying a product with one dedicated function, consumers want devices that perform multiple tasks. Tablets are a great example of this trend, providing Internet connectivity as well as entertainment and productivity functions. With connected devices providing much of the wind in its sails, the CE industry looks like a bright spot in the world of retail.

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