APPLIANCE magazine was in Las Vegas today for media previews of the 2007 International Consumer Electronics Show (CES), the world's largest consumer technology trade show, which opens to industry attendees on Monday, January 8.
CES's organizer, the Consumer Electronics Association (CEA), gave journalists a forecast of the year ahead, saying that factory-to-dealer sales of consumer electronics will exceed U.S. $155 billion in 2007 for seven percent growth.
"The consumer electronics (CE) industry has outdone itself once again, with revenues totaling $145 billion in 2006, and we're on track for another year of healthy growth," said CEA President and CEO Gary Shapiro. "We surpassed original projections for the second year in a row, and the industry outlook is proof positive that Americans can't do without their beloved consumer electronics. Consumers are benefiting from our industry's innovations and only want to see more of them."
Todd Thibodeaux, CEA's senior vice president of industry relations, acknowledged 2006 industry growth far exceeded CEA's conservative forecast at the beginning of the year. "We originally forecast eight percent growth, but when all was said and done, we saw an impressive 13 percent growth for the year. Consumers started the year investing in innovative consumer electronics products and seemingly never stopped. With the 2007 forecast, we see the consumer love affair with technology continuing at a healthy clip."
Displays Fuel Growth
Thibodeaux said the display category will continue to fuel industry growth in 2007. "The TV market is setting all-time revenue records. CRT-based sets are giving way to flat panel displays. The successful ongoing transition to digital television is driving demand in this market space."
Tuners Go Digital
CEA projects display technologies to continue to be the star category in the industry and account for $22 billion in revenues for 2007. As of March 1, 2007, any device containing a TV tuner must contain a digital tuner, which is expected to drive even bigger increases in digital TV sales. Unprecedented price declines in plasma and LCD displays are also contributing to growth. For 2007, these flat panel displays are expected to ship a combined 19 million units.
Game Consoles: 23% Increase in 2007 Projected
Next-generation consoles will make the video game market one to watch in 2007. An analysis of year-end game console sales reports for 2006 indicates that holiday sales will lift revenues in 2007 to $16 billion, a 23 percent increase.
MP3 Players: Now 90% of Portable Entertainment
MP3 players continue to drive the audio market. CEA projects that MP3 players will account for 90 percent of the $6 billion in revenues for the portable entertainment market. Thirty-four million MP3 players shipped in 2006 and an additional 41 million are expected to ship in 2007.
"One of the biggest drivers of both the audio and portable entertainment markets is the MP3 player. It continues to ship at large volumes and 2007 will be no different as the market shifts into a replacement mode. For example, many consumers will be replacing their first generation players with new players offering video playback capability," said Thibodeaux.
Other product categories that will see substantial growth in 2007 are PCs, accessories and digital imaging devices. In 2006, shipment volumes of laptops eclipsed their desktop counterparts. CE accessory sales also will grow in 2007, to $11 billion, in large part due to an overall consumer emphasis on portability. Total digital imaging shipments are expected to exceed 32 million units, with revenues projected to reach $8 billion, making 2006 and 2007 the best revenue years for this category.
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