Tablets, Smartphones Drive Consumer Electronics Growth: CEA

Unit sales of smartphones are projected to reach 130 million this year, while smartphone shipment revenues are expected to surpass $37 billion in 2013.

The popularity of mobile connected devices, consisting primarily of smartphones, tablets and notebooks, is driving the consumer electronics (CE) market to new heights, according to a Jan. 8 report from the Consumer Electronics Association (CEA).

Revenues for the industry are projected to grow nearly 3 percent, reaching a new record-high of $209.6 billion, according to the CEA's semi-annual report. The forecast also shows 2012 industry revenues reached $204 billion, up 5 percent from the previous year.

Smartphones continue to be the primary revenue driver for the industry with growth projected to continue in 2013. Unit sales of smartphones are projected to reach 130 million this year, up from 111 million in 2012, while smartphone shipment revenues are expected to surpass $37 billion in 2013, up from $33 billion in 2012. Apple alone is projected to sell 173 million iPhone units this year, according to a recent report from Canaccord Genuity.

Tablet computing will continue double-digit growth in 2013, with unit sales of tablets projected to reach 116 million this year, up 45 percent from 2012, when 80 million tablets were sold to dealers. Industry revenues for tablets are expected to surpass $37 billion this year, up from $31 billion in 2012, according to the report.

Sales of notebooks are expected to rise as 26 million units are projected to be sold in 2013, accounting for $17 billion in revenue. "CEA's forecast once again confirms that CE products play an increasingly indispensible role in consumers' lives," Steve Koenig, CEA's director of industry analysis, said in a prepared statement. "Consumer adoption of smartphones and tablets continues to expand briskly, as mobile connected devices take center stage in today's connected, digital lifestyle."

Elsewhere in the industry, several categories are expected to see growth in 2013, including shipments of compact system cameras with interchangeable lenses, projected to grow 22 percent to 1.1 million units, and network-enabled digital media set-top box shipments, which are expected to hit 7.4 million units, a gain of 13 percent over 2012.

Despite total unit sales of displays falling slightly in 2013, the CEA report noted that a number of bright spots within the television category are helping to drive overall industry growth. Sales of TV sets with 3D functionality are projected to increase 39 percent to more than 5.7 million units in 2013, while Internet-connected displays are also expected to post strong growth this year, with unit sales reaching 12.3 million, up from 9.2 million in 2012.

In addition, unit sales and revenues for LCD TVs are projected to increase this year with a record-high 30.4 million LCD TVs expected to ship to dealers in 2013, resulting in more than $15 billion in revenue.