Consumers are expected to spend $555 per person on new consumer electronics devices this year, a 9 per cent increase over 2012, according to the 2013 Household Penetration Study from global information company, The NPD Group. According to the report, nearly three-in-four (72 per cent) consumers expect to buy a consumer electronics product over the next 12 months.
Big ticket items like flat-panel TVs and tablets are fueling the increase in spending. Over the next two years, 28 per cent of consumers expect to buy a flat-panel TV while 20 per cent intend to buy a tablet, representing the highest purchase intent levels of all devices measured.
Purchase expectations for some other categories that were once in high demand are on the decline. For example, Blu-ray player purchase intent declined from 16 per cent in 2012 to 12 per cent in 2013, reflecting both the maturity of the product category and competition from other devices that also deliver video content. Streaming media players, for instance, are owned in just 8 per cent of US households, but Q2 2013 sales nearly equaled Blu-ray volume. The continued sales growth of tablets and connected TVs will also challenge consumer adoption of Blu-ray.
“Consumers have an abundance of devices to choose from when deciding where to watch video content,” said Ben Arnold, NPD’s director of industry analysis. “Today, it seems that nearly any device with a screen and an Internet connection can be used as a video player. As a result, Blu-ray players are now competing as one of many options for watching video content, and sales of video devices reflect this shift.”
Other changes in the marketplace have actually benefited existing product categories. Growing adoption of mobile devices like tablets and smartphones has helped fuel sales increases in stereo headphones with microphones, which are up 65 per cent in the first half of 2013, and wireless streaming speakers, which have nearly quadrupled. In home audio, household ownership of audio systems featuring surround sound has declined to 29 per cent, while soundbar adoption (now at 9 per cent of households) and sales (up 54 per cent compared to last year) grows as consumers gravitate to their sleek design and minimal footprint in the living room.
“As consumer electronics products become embedded with more features and evolve in design, existing product categories will continue to be challenged by new devices coming to the market,” said Arnold. “While mobile devices have been the catalyst behind much of the current shifts in the industry, more change is likely upon us as hardware manufacturers and application developers push into new usage scenarios and environments.”