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CEA: Mobile Products Driving Industry Sales

ARLINGTON, VA. — Consumers’ desire for mobility is driving sales of tablets, smartphones, e-readers and wireless mobile hot spots, according to a new study released by the Consumer Electronics Association (CEA).

The “15th Annual Household CE Ownership and Market Potential Study” also found that CE spending is up for individuals (35 percent) and households (36 percent) over the last 12 months.

Sales of tablet computers are driving growth in the CE industry; household penetration of tablets is up 17 percent year over year. The CEA study also found household increased penetration rates for smartphones (12 percent), e-readers (10 percent) and wireless mobile hot spots (10 percent).

“For the first time in the 15 years we’ve conducted this survey, the top four products making headway in U.S. households are mobile devices,” said Kevin Tillmann, market research senior research analyst, CEA. “We’re seeing overall household penetration rates for smartphones and tablets at 58 percent and 39 percent, respectively, and we expect they will continue to dominate the marketplace in the coming year.”

Smartphone ownership continues to flourish, with 69 million U.S. households now owning a smartphone. As a result, basic cellphone (non-smartphone) ownership is steadily declining.

E-reader ownership increased from 19 percent in 2012 to 29 percent in 2013, and wireless mobile hot spot devices nearly doubled in ownership from 11 percent in 2012 to 21 percent in 2013.

Televisions are the most universally owned CE devices, with 98 percent of U.S. households owning at least one TV. In the last year, Internet-enabled TVs experienced a 9-point increase in household penetration rates, and can now be found in 38 percent of U.S. households.

Nearly three in four (74 percent) U.S. households reported owning at least one HDTV. Among HDTV sets, LCD TVs remain the preferred choice, with more than six in 10 (61 percent) U.S. households owing at least one LCD TV.

Households owning DVD players decreased by 4 percentage points in 2012, while ownership of Blu-ray Disc players increased by 5 percentage points. This serves as an indication that households are continuing to replace DVD players with Blu-ray players, optimizing picture quality on their HDTV sets.

Nearly 43 million U.S. households (36 percent) subscribe to video-rental and streaming services, and another 15 percent of households said they expected to subscribe to at least one of these services in the year ahead. Video-subscription services are expected to continue to grow as these services evolve. Internet phone, digital file backup and music- subscription services all experienced 5 percentage point increases over 2012 levels.

In terms of anticipated purchases over the next year, the mobility trend continues; 29 percent of consumers said they plan to buy smartphones, second only to the 33 percent who indicated that they were planning to purchase headphones. Other planned purchases include notebook/laptop/netbook computers (22 percent), tablets (21 percent) and HDTVs (20 percent).

CE spending over the past 12 months is up considerably for both individuals and households. On average, U.S. adults reported spending $746 on CE products, a 35 percent increase over the prior year, while the average American household spent $1,312, an increase of 36 percent. Spending increased most dramatically for adults ages 25 to 34, up 62 percent from 2012 levels to $1,171, CEA said.

“Several factors are contributing to an increase in consumer spending. Unemployment numbers are declining. And prices are falling across several CE product categories as competition increases within these market segments,” said Tillmann. “This bodes well for consumers, affording them the opportunity to purchase more products and upgrade with greater frequency.”

The CEA’s “15th Annual Household CE Ownership and Market Potential Study” (April 2013) was conducted between Jan. 25-28 and Feb. 1-4. It was designed and formulated by CEA Market Research, The complete study is available for free for CEA member companies at Nonmembers may purchase the study for $1,200 at the CEA Store.