GfK: Smartphones To Hit 22% Of Global CE Sales

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Nuremberg, Germany - Smartphones will account for 22 percent of global consumer electronics dollar volume at retail in 2012, up by 4 percentage points from 2011, according to

GfK Digital World

.

GfK's definition of consumer electronics includes cellphones, TVs, mobile and desk PCs, digital still cameras, tablets and other devices.

The statistics also reflect an upward revision in 2011 smartphone share to 18 percent from a

July 2011 forecast

of 16 percent.

The latest forecast, produced in partnership with the Consumer Electronics Association (CEA), also shows global spending on consumer technology devices will surpass $1 trillion in 2012 for the first time, rising 5 percent from 2011's $993 billion.

In other findings, GfK concluded that smartphones could be cutting into demand for low-end digital cameras but could be stimulating demand for higher priced digital cameras.

Although smartphone cameras lack such camera features as analog zoom, "in some instances they may cut out demand for low-end cameras," GfK said. Nonetheless, "at the same time, there is an increasing demand for high-end cameras as consumers are becoming more enthusiastic about photography. This trend could be driven by people using camera functions on smartphones for the first time."

As a result, sales of SLR and compact cameras with interchangeable lenses grew globally by 17 percent in the first nine months of 2011, outperforming the overall market for digital cameras, GfK said. That growth, however, still pales in comparison to an 81 percent gain in smartphone unit volume.  In 2012, the company forecasts a 39 percent gain in smartphone sales to about 600 million units.

The key advantage of smartphone cameras is their Internet access, GfK said. "For uploading photos to social-networking sites, direct internet access is a major selling point." Smartphones "have a large number of comparable features [to dedicated cameras], such as megapixels and autofocus, but the ability to access the Internet is one of their main advantages," GfK continued.

For the first nine months of 2011, only 10 percent of digital cameras were equipped with Wi-Fi, but for cellphones (including non-smartphones), the share was 24 percent, and for smartphones alone, the share was 87 percent, GfK said.

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