By Lisa Johnston
New products on display at the American International Toy Fair, held in N
NEW YORK – Consumer interest in buying multifunction devices such as smartphones and tablets is rising dramatically, and intent to buy single-function devices is waning, an Accenture study found.
“The consumer electronics market is now predominantly a four-horse race among multifunction devices--PCs, smartphones, tablets and HDTVs,” said Mattias Lewren, managing director for Accenture’s Electronics and High-Tech industry group. “This development amounts to a call to action for electronics manufacturers. They need to focus squarely on innovative devices with multiple applications, from browsing to media consumption to communications, in various settings.”
The company’s Sept. 2012 survey polled consumers in 11 countries about their buying plans for 16 types of consumer electronic devices, 11 of which perform a single function and five of which performed multiple functions. Consumer intent to buy single-function devices fell or remained flat compared with the year-ago survey, Accenture found. For example, the percentage of respondents planning to buy Blu- Ray/DVD players fell to 10 percent from 11 percent, and purchase intentions for digital photo cameras, digital video cameras, and game consoles remained flat.
In contrast, the percentage of respondents planning to buy multi-function devices in the next year increased significantly, with 36 percent intending to buy a desktop or laptop PC, up from the previous survey’s 16 percent. Smartphone intent-to-buy rose to 41 percent from 27 percent, and HDTV intent-to-buy rose to 33 percent from 20 percent. Tablet intent rose to 23 percent from 16 percent.
Some single-function devices, nonetheless, still have life left. “A few bright spots emerged, namely basic mobile phones, global positioning satellite (GPS) devices, health and fitness devices and, to a lesser extent, eBooks,” Accenture said.
The percentage of survey respondents intending to buy basic mobile phones increased from 6 percent to 10 percent, portable navigation devices (PNDs) increased from 9 percent to 11 percent), health and fitness devices increased from 7 percent to 9 percent, and eBooks increased from 8 percent to 9 percent. Nonetheless, Accenture warned, “the functionality of even these devices is increasingly being integrated into multi-function products such as smartphones.”
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