New York - Plasma TVs are performing better while the overall TV market is still struggling, tablet PCs
should be more popular in 2011 than originally projected, and digital cameras
sales are still growing, despite competition from smartphones, according to the Consumer Electronics Association (CEA).
Shawn Dubravac, chief economist and
research director of CEA, made the observations during his "CEA
Mid-Year Reality Check" presentation at the CEA Line Shows exhibition,
here, this morning.
Dubravac began his
talk by saying that CE sales have traditionally done well vs. major
appliances, cars and other categories since 1960, and did well during the
recession. But pent up car demand - the average car in the U.S. is close to 10
years old - may cut into that in the short term.
In TVs CEA projected
in January that unit sales would be down from 2011 at 3.5 percent through 2014
at 1.1 percent. DuBravac said that through April LCD TV sales were down "3.5
percent, matching our overall unit sales projection." However growth for
plasma this year has been 5.5 percent, higher than the originally forecast 4.6
3DTV unit sales
have been up 187 percent through April , higher than the 65 percent gain
predicted in January by CEA, totaling annual sales of 1.9 million. If sales
rates hold, 3DTV sales should hit 3.3 million by the end of the year, DuBravac
said. He expects 3DTV to
perform comparably to other new technologies introduced in CE and predicts 35
to 45 percent of the category's yearly sales will be generated in the fourth quarter.
DuBravac said Internet TV has seen
unit sales soar 160 percent year to date. The original CEA projection in
January was 5.2 million units but if the trend holds it could reach 6.3 million units. But overall, TV sales will be down this year due to a sales drop in smaller screen
sizes, which could be from tablet PCs cannibalizing the market. A more serious factor
is price erosion, which was originally predicted to drop by 3 percent in LCDs and 9 percent
in plasma. The combined categories have seen prices drop 15 percent year to date.
Speaking of tablet
PCs, DuBravac said CEA's January projection of unit sales was conservative -
35 million - even though 17 million were sold in 2010. CEA's latest prediction is
42 million units sold during 2011, with fourth-quarter sales seen being especially hot
as new players in the category finally begin shipping products.
He noted that
smartphone and tablet sales during 2010 supplanted PC sales, with consumers
turning to mobility as a key feature. And the avalanche of
new suppliers entering the category is the overwhelming driver for consumers to buy one in
the next 12 to 24 months. In tablets, 20 percent of those households that do not
have one now -- 21.2 million in the U.S. -- intend to buy one during that period.
In e-readers, 18 percent of households, or 18.2 million, intend to buy those
However all this
interest in mobile tablets and e-readers does "not necessarily mean consumers
sign up for cell services. Many of them use the product at home or at a place
where they have a static Wi-Fi connection. Few use them at work or traveling." The main time they
use them are weekdays (69 percent), and at night time (62 percent).
As fro digital cameras, DuBravac described the category as one that is "resisting decline" even as more smartphones have cameras topping 5 megapixels. Sales are up 11
percent year to date, with the under-$150 tier up in triple digits, and the $300
to $499 tier up 25 percent.