Boston, MA -- (ReleaseWire) -- 05/05/2014 -- The US consumer electronics market is mature, with high penetration rates in a number of device categories, but opportunities remain. Growth areas include large-size HD TV sets, smartphones, Microsoft Windows 8 tablets and convertibles/hybrids, Ultrabooks, and smart TV sets. Questions still remain about the sustainability of consumption in the absence of strong wage growth.
Headline Expenditure Projections
Computer Hardware Sales: US$125.4bn in 2013 to US$130.4bn in 2014, +4.0% in US dollar terms. Forecasts reflect that shipments of desktops and notebooks remain low and consumers shift spending to lower-cost tablets.
AV Sales: US$74.6bn in 2013 to US$79.9bn in 2014, +7% in US dollar terms. There is evidence that US consumers are willing to pay more for features such as 3D, 4k and large-screens; however, sales of midrange flat-screens remain under pressure amid economic uncertainty.
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Handset Sales: US$34.7bn in 2013 to US$37bn in 2014, +6.6% in US dollar terms. Forecast unchanged, with Android devices providing a stiff challenge to Apple in 2013. The introduction of Apple's iphone 5 devices contributed to sales of 33.8mn units in Q413, a record for the company.
Key Trends & Developments
- Texas and California are the hubs of the US electronics industry and generate more than 25% of total national exports in this category. Exports from these two states make up a high portion of total US exports of computers and electronics to Mexico, but Asian companies have made inroads in supplying Mexican electronics assembly plants.
- As vendors face the reality of declining desktop and notebook sales, there is a renewed focus on retail. In 2013, Microsoft announced that it was partnering with Best Buy to set up a store-within-a-store in 500 locations in the US and 100 in Canada. Microsoft will work with Best Buy to train an additional 1,200 sales associates, as well as supply dedicated Microsoft specialists to the stores. The Microsoft stores will be in direct competition with Apple, which also has stores within some branches of Best Buy. Microsoft's strategy is for the stores to be a location for consumers to try, compare and purchase tablets, PCs, Windows Phones, Office Software and Xbox. The company also announced in Q313 an iphone buyback scheme operating out of its retail stores.
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