Wearable Tech, Mobile to Drive Consumer Electronics Market: CEA

Smartphones are expected to maintain their position as the sales leader of the industry in 2014, with shipments projected to reach 152 million units.

Revenues for the consumer electronics (CE) industry are projected to grow 2.4 percent in 2014, reaching a new record high of $208 billion.

New technology categories, including 3D printers, Bluetooth wireless speakers, convertible PCs, health and fitness devices, smart watches and Ultra HD television displays, are cumulatively expected to contribute more than $6 billion to the overall CE industry in 2014.

The semi-annual industry report, produced by the Consumer Electronics Association (CEA), projected that while these emerging product categories represent less than 3 percent of the entire CE industry, they would drive 65 percent of total industry revenue growth.

Smartphones are expected to maintain their position as the sales leader of the industry in 2014, with unit shipments projected to reach 152 million this year, up from 138 million units sold in 2013. Additionally, smartphone revenues are expected to generate $41 billion in 2014, a 4.6 percent increase from $39 billion in 2013.

Although revenue growth has slowed, unit sales for smartphones and tablets are expected to see steady increases, and sales of mobile connected devices, like smartphones and tablets, will continue to contribute significant unit sales and revenue to the total CE bottom line in 2014.

Unit sales of tablets are projected to reach 89.3 million this year, up from 77.4 million in 2013. The report projected revenue for tablets would reach $27.3 billion this year, up by three percent.

"In a short amount of time, mobile connected devices have become ingrained and indispensable in consumer’s lives," Steve Koenig, CEA’s director of industry analysis, said in a statement. "The market for these products, now found in millions of households, is exceptionally competitive, naturally resulting in slowed revenue growth. Yet we find ourselves at an interesting inflection point in technology, as these same products are creating opportunities and growth across several other categories in the industry."

The release of next generation gaming consoles are projected to propel unit shipment growth, up 42 percent year-over-year, to reach revenues of $5.7 billion in 2014, while in the audio market, Bluetooth wireless speakers are expected to generate $430 million in total revenue in 2014, an increase of 12 percent year-over-year.

Soundbar shipments are projected to increase 22 percent to 3.5 million units and reach $676 million in revenue, and headphones are expected to sell 71 million units, earning $1.5 billion in revenue.

"We are at the forefront of a momentous wave of innovation," CEA president and CEO Gary Shapiro said in a statement. "The incredible growth that emerging product categories such as Ultra HDTV, wearable electronics and 3D printers will experience this year underscores the significant role new technologies play in the total consumer electronics story."

Unit shipments of Ultra HD displays are expected to surpass $1 billion for the first time this year, while OLED displays will reach $836 million. Total unit sales of video displays are predicted to remain even with 2013 levels, and total TV sets and display sales are projected to reach $21.3 billion in 2014, up 2 percent from 2013’s better than expected revenue level of $21 billion.