One Month After CE Week, CEA Cuts 2013 Forecast

CEA logoThe Consumer Electronics Association today released their updated forecasts in a report called The U.S. Consumer Electronics Sales and Forecasts – a semiannual report put out every January and July. The new forecasts show the CEA has scaled back their 2013 forecast substantially from the one released earlier this year, but still expect a small increase of just under .2% to $202.6 billion from last year’s $202.3 billion.

See more on this newly updated report…

In January, the CEA had forecast a more robust 2013 total industry sales of $209.5 billion or 3.6% higher than the previous year. The new more moderate rate still shows growth that is based largely on the success of smartphones, tablets, and other mobile devices.

So why did the CEA so dramatically cut its industry forecast?

“Although the consumer tech industry is largely immune to the degree of turmoil experienced by other sectors, CE is not entirely impervious to the bigger picture,” said Shawn DuBravac, chief economist and senior director of research, CEA in a prepared statement. “The front half of 2013 brought slower than anticipated economic growth in the U.S. driven by the fiscal drag of sequestration and expiration of the payroll tax, while the back half brings more tempered expectations for economic growth. However, the rest of 2013 should find itself on firmer footing, with several forthcoming product launches which should propel growth in the second half of 2013, through the holiday season and into 2014.”

New categories and growth drivers…

The CEA noted that there were several categories demonstrating growth and initiated tracking in three new categories: fitness technology, desktop 3D printers and Bluetooth/airplay-enabled speakers.

Industry Sales Forecast

New forecast by CEA revising downward expected 2013 growth.

Consistent with their message to the press at the Research Summit during CE Week, the CEA noted the continued growth of smartphones and tablets – key drivers of the overall industry numbers. These two categories alone represent 32.2% of the entire industry revenues for 2013. The CEA says smartphones will reach 127 million units shipped this year for a total revenue of $37.8 billion.

“Despite uncertain economic conditions, 2013 CE industry revenues will remain consistent with 2012 levels,” CEA President and CEO Gary Shapiro said in the prepared statement. “Fueled by innovation, the CE industry is consistently noted for rapid evolvement, yet the industry has emerged as a consistent and steady force, influencing positive growth and job creation. While year-over-year sales remain even, we believe the future of the industry remains bright, particularly with the emergence of exciting new product categories like Ultra HDTV, wearable electronics and 3Dprinters.”

All aboard for audio…

The CEA also calls out audio as a highlighted growth area, saying the category had “stronger than anticipated shipments during the first half of the year.” Unit shipments of audio are projected to increase 11% to 11.4 million units shipped.

But the “bright spots” in audio highlighted by the trade group as the main growth drivers include soundbars and Bluetooth/Airplay-enabled speakers. These newer audio categories are the reason for the growth, as opposed to the more traditional audio components in the previous years figures.

The CEA says soundbar shipments will grow by 40% over last year to 2.8 million units.Portable connected speakers are forecast to hit total 2013 revenues of $302 million – 35% over the previous year.

For more on this report from the CEA, see:

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