The Consumer Electronics Association (CEA) is now looking for 2014 to be an all-time record high for global consumer electronics. Its semi-annual sales forecasts signaling that consumer electronics revenues will be up by 2% to $211.3 billion in 2014.
The big growth driver is connected devices, and the report covers more than 100 consumer electronics products. Tuesday’s update is in line with the CEA forecast from January, but slightly adjusted after 2013 revenue growth turned out to be better than initially expected.
Growth is expected to be seen yet again in 2015, albeit slowing to 1.2%. The biggest driver is the so-called emerging category growth, which is projected to grow by a whopping 242% in 2014 and another 108% in 2015. This category includes 3D printers, health and fitness devices, smart watches, ultra-HD TV displays and now includes smart thermostats. The emerging product categories still represent less than 3% of the entire consumer electronics industry revenue, but that will likely reach $5 billion this year, after having been too small to track in prior years.
In video, innovations in the television category are sales drivers. The report said:
Despite a steady decline in average wholesale prices, TV sales remain critical to the industry’s overall bottom line with total TV sets and displays projected to reach $18.4 billion in 2014, down five percent from 2013. … Unit shipments of Ultra HD displays are expected to reach 800,000 in 2014, earning $1.9 billion in revenue, a 517 percent increase over the 2013 total. Revenue from Ultra HD displays is projected to exceed $5 billion in 2015 …
Other data on LCD TV’s, smartphones and tablet growth will be key drivers in 2014. LCD TVs are expected to be 94% of all digital display sets sold in 2014 — 36.7 million units are expected to ship to dealers in 2014 for some $17.3 billion in revenue. Sales of mobile connected devices like smartphones and tablets are expected to remain the top two revenue drivers of growth in 2014, representing 35.1% of total industry revenues in 2014. Subcategory expectations are as follows:
- Smartphone shipments should reach 163.5 million in 2014, up 8%t from 2013.
- Tablet unit sales should reach 80.4 million units in 2014, up 4% from 2013; but revenues for tablets are expected to be down 3% to $25.6 billion.
Audio (headphones, Bluetooth wireless speakers and soundbars) and other categories will have the following growth numbers with gains shown as 2014 versus 2013:
- Headphones are expected to sell 75.9 million units, earning $1.4 billion in revenue, up 20%.
- Bluetooth wireless speakers are expected to generate $650 million in total revenue in 2014, up 69%.
- Soundbars are projected to reach $611 million in revenue, up 17%.
- Automotive electronics rising with new vehicle sales in 2014, with factory-installed systems reaching $11 billion in revenue, up 20%.
- Gaming consoles are projected to drive revenues of $4.8 billion in 2014, along with a 35% increase in unit shipments.