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Smartphones, Tablets Still Seen As Growth Drivers

TWICE: Will more and different-sized smartphones and tablets make an impact on retail sales during the second half?

Bill Stewart, founder/CEO, Petra Industries: Absolutely. The continued growth and rapid introduction of a greater variety of devices offer tremendous retail opportunities. The consumers’ appetite for the latest devices and their desire to enhance functionality and personalize through accessories has not and we don’t think will diminish anytime soon. The expected launch of the iPhone 6 smartphone and phablet in the second half will maintain a high level of excitement around new accessories particularly in the area of fashionable device protection.

Fred Towns, president, New Age Electronics & Jack of All Games: Smartphones will continue to increase in screen size, with more and more phablets coming to market. The market will see tablets that have a docking space for a smartphone embedded into the back of the device, which allows data to automatically sync on the two devices and creates a more harmonized experience for the user. As consumers are increasingly using their smartphone for just about any application, greater investments will continue to be made.

Tablet and smartphone accessories will continue to have a big impact on retail sales, with CEA projecting a slight increase in this category in 2014. Earbuds, wireless phone chargers, wireless phone cases and wireless mice will be the most popular accessories. As [mobile] devices with a larger screen size come to market, the need for complementary, new accessories will surge.

Rick Wigen, product management VP, Almo: Price point compression from the major suppliers will have a much larger impact on retail sales than size and model offerings.

Dennis Holzer, executive director, Power- House Alliance: With mergers, reduced pricing from the carriers, many home automation products and features that can be easily controlled by tablets and phones, this category will have an even larger impact on sales and at all price points and sizes.

Curt Hayes, president/CFO, Capitol: Consumers love their smartphones. Even the most casual users are at least aware of the latest models and trends, making it easier to step up a consumer when new models are introduced. Tablets may not generate the same urgency to upgrade, but as they become more commonplace consumers are buying second and even third pieces for the family, car, and other uses.