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Holiday Outlook from CE Week NY

The Digital Downtown Conference at this week's CE Week NY event (see previous post) included a market update on the Consumer Electronics industry from Shawn DuBravac, Chief Economist and Director of Research for the CEA.

For a quick sense of the tone of DuBravac's presentation, check out the title -- "Mid-Year Update: A Meltdown in the Second Half?" Luckily, the news was not quite that bad -- although 2012 looks to be a "tough" year, albeit at least without growth turning negative.

This would be worse than last year's nearly 8% growth -- but all of that came from tablets and smartphones, and 2011 would have been negative without them. (In fact, smartphones and tablets surpassed all other computing devices back in 2010, and this year smartphones alone will surpass all computing, including tablets.)

Hot Products

According to CEA consumer surveys of expected purchases over the next couple of years, the strongest interest is focused on tablets and smartphones, plus Internet-enabled TVs. These connected TVs have grown from around 10% of LCD volume to reach around 25% by the end of this year.

Another contributor to growth is the growing number of devices in households. We now have almost 3 TVs per home and almost 2 smartphones. Meanwhile, tablets have increased quickly from 17 million units only two years ago in 2010 to over 120M in 2012, reaching 1.4 per household -- as we trade up to the newest models, and hand down the older ones.

And with PCs, households average 1.7 notebooks and 1.4 desktops, plus 1.2 netbooks. This market is showing a boost from new ultrabook models.

Holiday Deals

Finally, DuBravac looked ahead to the holiday shopping season, stressing the growing importance of "Black Friday" to excite consumer interest and drive sales. The Black Friday concept even has spilled over to international markets, although it's obviously hindered by the absence of the U.S.-based Thanksgiving holiday.

Black Friday also is creeping into Thursday, with 8 a.m. Friday store openings pushed forward to 5 a.m. or up to midnight, which seems to be here to stay. Some experimentation with openings at 10 p.m. on Thursday seems to have been successful, but trials with 8 p.m. Thursday may actually be too early even for sale-crazed consumers.

So if you're one of those people eager for deals on CE products for the holiday, keep a lookout for manufacturers to provide incentives around late October / early November, particularly in the form of timed deals with looming expiration dates.

And you may want to act quickly, instead of hoping for late deals or clearance sales. Retailers did not restock in January after the last holiday season, and the volatile economic landscape is causing both manufacturers and retailers to keep inventories lean heading into this fall -- so a surge in demand may mean your dream device is no longer available!

Manifest Tech Site


This entry posted on June 29, 2012.

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