While speculation still remains as to the security of the consumer technology sector, one thing is certain: Americans love their mobile devices. Mobile devices have become a staple in the American home, with more than half of U.S. households in possession of a smartphone, and one-third in possession of a tablet. The continued steady sales of tablet and smartphone devices are expected to drive annual consumer electronic sales to $206.5 billion this year – breaking the $200 billion milestone for the first time.
Consumer electronic sales as a whole will grow 5.9% this year, which exceeds the Consumer Electronics Agency’s previous estimate of 3.7%. While the overall sales are impressive the real standouts continue to be smartphones and tablets; Steven Koenig, director of analysis for the CEA noted “These devices are the catalysts, the new means of interacting that are really changing our relationship with technology.”
Smartphones and Tablets Are Up Strongly
The CEA estimates that smartphone sales will top 108 million devices, a 24% increase from 2011, and amount to roughly $33.7 billion in revenue. The tablet market has also surged significantly; as Koenig explains:
“Tablets are the fastest-growing product category in the history of the CE industry, and sales will continue to increase as more products hit the market, offering consumers more choices in size, price, operating systems and app ecosystems. With U.S. household penetration of smartphones surpassing the 50 percent threshold, we’re seeing slowing sales of dedicated devices, as consumers seek singular devices that can perform multiple functions. We expect this trend to continue into 2013.”
This certainly seems to be the case, as tablet sales will more than double to 68.4 million, up 115% from 2011, and account for roughly $29.2 billion in sales, an 83% increase from 2011.
The combined sales of tablets and smartphones are expected to account for 30% of all electronics revenue this year. As Koenig hinted the immediate future for consumer electronics looks bright thanks to the increased demand of both smartphones and tablets, as the CEA estimates that revenue is expected to grow in 2013, reaching $215.8 billion.
Confidence Is High
A large part of this recent growth is thanks to a turnaround in consumer confidence. “Consumers are feeling more confident about their personal financial health, and they have higher expectations for the job market, which helped offset a slight decline in how they felt about the economy,” said Shawn DuBravac, CEA’s chief economist and senior director of research. However, while this newfound confidence is welcomed, Gary Shapiro CEA President and CEO understands that sustainable growth must come from a healthy economy; he explains:
“The CE industry is offering what consumers want during these uncertain economic times: innovation and value. Consumer’s desire for connected devices is pushing projected revenues higher than originally anticipated, but the long-term health of our industry relies on a strong and growing U.S. economy.”