Research: CE market boosted by connected devices in 2011

Global unit shipments of consumer electronics (CE) products will climb 2.6 per cent in 2010, partly driven by rising sales of products that play a role in the connected home and that focus on usability—rather than technological wizardry—according to iSuppli research.

CE product shipments in 2011 are projected to reach 1.60 billion units, up from 1.56 billion in 2010. The CE category encompasses a diverse array of familiar devices that consumers use on a daily basis, including televisions, stereos and audio components, portable media players, set-top boxes, gaming devices, DVD and Blu-ray players, digital still cameras, projectors and camcorders, digital picture frames, e-book readers and consumer appliances.

“While the 2.6 per cent rise in overall shipments this year is modest compared to last year’s 4 per cent climb, the expansion is significant given current economic conditions,” said Jordan Selburn, principal analyst for consumer platforms at IHS. “Amid the continued uncertainties in the global economy and the high unemployment rate in the US – the world’s largest market for CE devices—the uptick in sales provides reassurance for the industry and sets the stage for future growth.”

CE revenue in 2011 is not predicted to grow by nearly as much as unit shipments. In particular, the substantial price declines that began in 2010 are expected to continue in 2011 for CE devices such as e-book readers.

Televisions also will be responsible for some of the contraction occurring in revenue. Although enjoying strong sales, television pricing will be eroded by deep discounts from retailers, impacting total CE revenue.

Other high-volume consumer systems, such as portable media and MP3 players, will continue to face competitive pressure from rival solutions—such as smart phones and tablets—which subsume features of the original device, also depressing CE revenue in the process.

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