Las Vegas — Despite a decline of 1 percent in 2012, global sales of consumer electronics are expected to rise 4 percent in 2013, to $1.106 trillion, based on joint research by the Consumer Electronics Association (CEA) and GfK Digital World.
Steve Koenig, CEA industry analysis director, cited weakness in the GDPs of major mature markets, including the U.S. and Western Europe in 2012, but said emerging markets, led by such countries as Indonesia and the Philippines, as well as Brazil, Russia and China, will drive overall growth in 2013.
Sales in emerging markets are seen rising 9 percent year on year, while mature markets will see a modest 1 percent growth.
Almost all of that growth will come from three categories: tablets, smartphones and portable PCs. In fact, 50 percent of all CE spending this year is expected to be on those three categories, at the expense of many traditional product categories.
Tablets in particular will continue to dominate unit sales, said Koenig, and will run neck-and-neck with smartphones in 2013, as penetration rates continue to grow faster than any new CE product ever — faster than the VCR, DVD players, MP3 players and even color TVs.
The combination of tablets and smartphones, expected to account for 40 percent of all money spent on CE in 2013, is also leading to the collapse of several traditional categories such as digital cameras, portable gaming devices and portable media players.
Beyond smartphones (expected to see revenue gains of 22 percent in 2013, mostly in developing markets), and tablets (seen rising 25 percent in revenue) there is little growth expected anywhere else. Plasma TVs are expected to drop 23 percent in revenue; LCD TVs will be down 2 percent; feature phones will decline 21 percent.
CEA and GfK predicted modest growth for video game consoles, based on anticipated new platform introductions by the major manufacturers, and DSLR cameras continue to grow moderately.
The portable computing category is the hot spot for innovation, Koenig said, as new tablets and a new diversity of design enters the market. The introduction of Windows 8 is spurring innovation in the notebook market as new form factors, such as Microsoft's Surface, Google's Chromebook and the first generation of hybrid notebook/tablet devices reach consumers.
Lower-priced tablet models are being adopted very quickly in emerging markets and are a major factor in boosting the overall growth rate.
In smartphones, there is more spending in developing markets, accounting for 58 percent of the global total expected in 2013, vs. 42 percent of sales in mature markets.
As for TVs, sales have slowed to some degree in all global markets, mature and developing, but the high end of the market continues to grow, especially in the U.S. The popularity of what Koenig called "jumbo screen sizes" is the story in the U.S., with share approaching 10 percent. But sales of these larger screen sizes, as well as the rapidly increasing penetration rate of tablets, is cratering sales of small TVs. CEA see sales of large-screen TVs doubling or even tripling in the U.S. in 2013.
However, Koenig said, Ultra HDTVs, of which many models will make their debut at this year's show, have yet to gain any traction as a category, and CEA predicted a mere 1.4 million units will sell in the U.S. in 2016, less than 5 percent of overall TV sales.