Trillion-dollar forecast for gadget sales

January 5, 2011 by Chris Lefkow
A woman speaks on her mobile phone in Beijing. With a mjaor US consumer electronics trade show set to open this week, organizers are forecasting that global gadget sales may top one trillion dollars this year for the first time ever.

As the top US consumer electronics trade show prepares to open this week, organizers are forecasting that global gadget sales may top one trillion dollars this year for the first time ever.

The Consumer Electronics Association (CEA) said Tuesday that worldwide annual spending on mobile phones, computers, television sets and other items is expected to rise 10 percent in 2011 to 964 billion dollars.

"We may very well hit the trillion mark," said Steve Koenig, director of industry analysis for CEA, organizer of the annual (CES), which kicks off in Las Vegas on Thursday.

"I'm bullish," Koenig told reporters. "That number is truly within reach."

Sales of smartphones, touchscreen tablet computers, electronic book readers and flat-panel liquid crystal display (LCD) television sets are among the items expected to power the industry to record heights.

Many of the latest devices will be on display on the sprawling show floors at the Las Vegas Convention Center, where the four-day event is expected to attract more than 125,000 visitors from around the world and 2,600 exhibitors.

The CEA said it expected consumer electronics sales to grow by 23 percent in Western Europe this year and 15 percent in both North America and China.

Growth for Asia -- excluding China and Japan -- was forecast at 12 percent.

Consumer electronics sales were expected to increase by 10 percent in South America, eight percent in Japan, seven percent in Africa, five percent in Eastern Europe and four percent in the Middle East.

Consumer electronics sales increased 13 percent in 2010 to 873 billion dollars after falling nine percent in 2009 in the depths of the .

CEA chief economist Shawn Dubravac said smartphones and tablet computers like Apple's popular were expected to be among the hottest items in 2011.

"The standard handset is a declining market," Dubravac said. "All the growth you see is in smartphones."

A woman tries out a new Samsung "Galaxy" at a consumer electronics fair in Berlin. Consumer electronics sales increased 13 percent in 2010 to 873 billion dollars after falling nine percent in 2009 in the depths of the recession.

The CEA forecast that sales would double this year over last year to around 30 million units while e-readers such as Amazon's Kindle would ring up sales of nearly 20 million units worldwide.

"Tablets will be one of the key themes at this year's show," Dubravac said, as technology companies seek to emulate the success of Apple's iPad.

"I wouldn't be surprised if we saw 100 plus tablets at CES," he said, adding that the optimal price point for the devices appears to be around 350 dollars.

The CEA said mobile computers -- which include tablets -- will account for 220 billion dollars in total personal computer sales of 316 billion dollars in 2011, with desktop computers accounting for the remaining 96 billion dollars.

Web-connected televisions are expected to see continued growth with the CEA forecasting that 52 percent of TV sets sold in 2014 would allow users to access the Internet.

Just nine percent, or 3.2 million, of the TV sets sold last year were Internet-enabled, according to the CEA, a figure expected to jump to 15 percent, or 5.2 million, in 2011.

While Web-connected TVs are expected to take off and LCD TV sales are forecast to remain strong, 3D television sets have yet to catch on, in part because they are still considered to be too expensive, Dubravac said.

He added that an emerging trend across devices -- from smartphones to tablet computers to TV sets -- was the increasing popularity of the dedicated mini-programs known as applications.

"Apps are huge," he said.

Half of all mobile device owners use applications, according to a CEA study, with communications, weather, maps, music, news, games and social networking among the most popular.

"We'll see a lot more shopping apps," said Ben Arnold, CEA's senior research analyst. "Apps that empower consumers."

Explore further: Consumer electronics industry hoping for a rosier 2010

Related Stories

Record US holiday spending on gadgets: CEA

October 19, 2010

Americans will spend a record amount on consumer electronics this holiday season, devoting nearly a third of their gift budget to gadgets, the Consumer Electronics Association (CEA) said Tuesday.

Tablet computer sales to hit 208 million in 2014

October 15, 2010

Sales of tablet computers like Apple's iPad are expected to soar from nearly 20 million units this year to 55 million next year and over 208 million in 2014, market research firm Gartner said Friday.

PC sales to grow 20 percent in 2010: Gartner

March 4, 2010

Worldwide sales of personal computers are expected to grow nearly 20 percent this year over 2009, with laptops driving new sales, research group Gartner said on Thursday.

Tablets taking bite out of PC sales: Gartner

November 29, 2010

Worldwide personal computer sales are on track to set a new record this year but tablets like Apple's iPad are taking a bite out of the sector, technology research firm Gartner said Monday.

Analysts: 3-D TV sales not as high as expected

October 13, 2010

(AP) -- Sales of 3-D TV sets have been weaker than expected this year, as 3-D content is lacking and overall TV sales in North America are slack, research firm DisplaySearch said.

Recommended for you

Samsung to disable Note 7 phones in recall effort

December 9, 2016

Samsung announced Friday it would disable its Galaxy Note 7 smartphones in the US market to force remaining owners to stop using the devices, which were recalled for safety reasons.

Swiss unveil stratospheric solar plane

December 7, 2016

Just months after two Swiss pilots completed a historic round-the-world trip in a Sun-powered plane, another Swiss adventurer on Wednesday unveiled a solar plane aimed at reaching the stratosphere.

Solar panels repay their energy 'debt': study

December 6, 2016

The climate-friendly electricity generated by solar panels in the past 40 years has all but cancelled out the polluting energy used to produce them, a study said Tuesday.


Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.