CEA: Tablet Sales To Soar, While TV Sales Struggle

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Plasma is performing better, but the overall TV market is still struggling and tablet PCs should be more popular in 2011 than originally projected.

Those observations were made by of Shawn Dubravac, chief economist and research director of the Consumer Electronics Association (CEA), during his “CEA Mid-Year Reality Check” presentation during the CEA Line Shows exhibition, held here late last month.

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 percent.

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 be 3.3 million by the end of the year, DuBravac said.

He expects 3DTV to perform on the level of other new technologies introduced in CE and predicted 35 percent to 45 percent of the category’s sales to be generated in the fourth quarter.

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 trends hold, it could be 6.3 million units.

But the overall trend for TVs will be down this year due to a sales drop in smaller screen sizes, which could be from tablet PCs. Price erosion, which was projected to drop 3 percent in LCDs and 9 percent in plasma, is now down a combined 15 percent year to date.

Speaking of tablet PCs, DuBravac said CEA’s January projections of unit sales were conservative — 35 million — even though 17 million were sold in 2010. Its newest prediction is 42 million sold during 2011, with fourth-quarter sales being especially hot with all the new players finally shipping products in that time frame.

He noted that smartphone and tablet sales during 2010 supplanted PC sales, with consumers turning to mobility as a key feature.

In tablets 20 percent of those households that do not have one now – 21.2 million in the U.S. – intend to buy one this year.


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