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American Trade Body Lowers Sales Forecast for Consumer Electronics Sales in 2013

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Mobile connected devices, including smartphones and tablets, continue to drive consumer electronics (CE) industry sales, according to a semi annual industry report released by the Consumer Electronics Association (CEA). The report also finds positive growth in segments within automotive technology, audio products and TV displays.

The report projects that industry sales will reach $202.6 billion this year, stable compared to 2012 sales, with 0.2 percent growth. This is nearly three points lower than previously projected by CEA in January. Looking ahead to 2014, industry sales growth is forecasted to grow by 4.5 percent, with industry revenues reaching $211.7 billion.

"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. "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."

Sales of mobile connected devices, namely smartphones and tablets, continue to drive industry growth. These two devices alone will represent 32.2 percent of CE industry revenue in 2013. Smartphones are expected to maintain their position as the leading revenue driver for the industry in 2013, with unit shipments projected to reach 127 million this year. Additionally, smartphone revenues are expected to surpass $37.8 billion in 2013, a 14 percent increase from one year ago. Tablet computing will continue double-digit growth in 2013. Unit sales of tablets are projected to reach 87.1 million this year and revenues expected to surpass $27.3 billion.

"The success of tablets and smartphones underscores the importance of mobility and connectivity today," said Steve Koenig, CEA's director of industry analysis. "These trends are also generating opportunities in many other categories across the industry including audio, video and automotive technology."

Audio continues to see positive growth in 2013, with stronger than anticipated shipments during the first half of the year. Home audio unit shipments are projected to increase by 11 percent to 11.4 million shipments. Major bright spots in audio are soundbars and Bluetooth/Airplay-enabled speakers. Soundbar shipments are projected to increase by 40 percent over 2012 to reach 2.8 million units, while portable connected speakers should generate $302 million in total revenue in 2013 - an increase of 35 percent year-over-year.

The report also shows increasing demand by consumers to integrate their mobile devices into their vehicles. An increase in sales for in-vehicle electronics has led to overall sales revenues for factory-installed systems to reach $9.2 billion in 2013. The integration of mobile devices is also helping in the aftermarket. Unit growth for head units equipped with internet radio control or apps is projected to grow by double digits in 2012.

Sales of innovative digital displays continue to increase, despite a steady decline in average wholesale prices. TV sales remain influential to the industry's bottom line, with total TV sets and displays projected to reach $19.3 billion in 2013, down three percent from 2012 ($19.9 billion).

LCD flat panels continue to dominate and will account for 91 percent of all digital television (DTV) sets sold this year. Both unit sales and revenues for LCD displays are projected to increase, with a record-high 36.3 million LCD TVs expected to ship to dealers in 2013, resulting in $16.8 billion in revenue.

Innovative features such as 3D, Ultra HD and OLED displays within the display category continue to entice. Internet-connected displays will see continued growth, with unit shipments reaching 13.7 million this year.

"Despite uncertain economic conditions, 2013 CE industry revenue will remain consistent with 2012 levels," said CEA President and CEO Gary Shapiro. "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 3D printers."

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