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CE Sales Are On The Up, Driven By New Categories

As JB Hi Fi sales soar analysts, are tipping that 2018 could be a better year for consumer electronic sales due in part to new technology such as voice assist, VR, a new generation of headphones and display screens.

According to research from Futuresource Consulting CE sales were flat in 2017 vs. 2016, at $677 billion, despite pockets of growth.

Despite this both JB Hi Fi and Harvey Norman have seen extensive growth despite the launch of Amazon into the Australian market.

At CES 2018 several analysts told ChannelNews that innovation such as voice assist in CE is generally shifting consumer spending from one category to another as opposed to lifting overall revenues.

2018 is forecast to perform somewhat stronger than 2017 with 2 percent uplift in revenues, however longer-term CE growth prospects are limited to low single-digit levels, since the mobile market is peaking and represents half of overall revenues.
The launch at Mobile World Congress of a new Samsung Galaxy S9 is set to be closely watched as demand for top end smartphones soften.
Mobile remains CE’s all-star player, and now delivers 50 percent of total global consumer electronics revenues, with smartphones surpassing 1.7 billion units and trade value growing 5 percent in 2017. By 2021, the global mobile category will be worth more than $420 billion.
The market decline in TV displays market has bottomed out after losing more than $37 billion in value since the peak of the flat-panel boom, only seven years ago.

Consumer appetite for more expensive sets and a shift to 4K UHD will bring a reversal of fortune. Futuresource’s forecasts point to a total A/V category market value more than $150 billion by 2021, with TV displays accounting for most of the value growth.

Within audio, smart speakers reached 25 million units in 2017 and boosted overall audio volume, while a portion of the market cannibalized Bluetooth speaker sales, particularly in Australia the U.S. and U.K.

Although the virtual reality market grew in 2017, the rate of consumer uptake continued to disappoint following a muted performance during the preceding twelve months. Many factors have conspired to limit widespread adoption of VR notably high hardware pricing for PC-based VR and to a lesser extent PSVR.

Smart home continues to develop, with fragmentation and lack of interoperability across rival ecosystems becoming less of a concern, thanks in part to the anticipated success of voice assistants as a natural interface for the smart home.

Integration between devices and connectivity protocols are establishing themselves and paving the way for whole-home ecosystems. Although the category will only contribute a small slice to overall CE revenues, it is an attractive new battleground which presents an additional revenue stream for brands, OEMs and service providers alike.

After a promising start, the wearables sector has since stalled however there’s plenty of life left in the category and next year we’ll see a turnaround. Look out for devices that differentiate themselves from mobile, particularly in the smartwatch category, and marketing messages that accentuate the differences and tap into the mainstream. Our forecasts show strong wearables growth out to 2021 and beyond, with a CAGR of 22 percent.
“Over the next five years, Futuresource expects an array of new categories to emerge in the CE landscape, including robots for care, domestic assistance and infotainment purposes, as well as innovations within the smart products category.
“Watch out for a new wave of hybrid smart products, hinted at by the capabilities of Sony’s Xperia Touch, which has the potential to be a multi-purpose home hub, acting as the primary interface for many applications,” said Bryant. “The future CE landscape does look challenging, but for the right company with the right approach, the opportunities could be boundless.”

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