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Global Consumer Electronics Market Rebounds to $873 Billion; Tablet and Connected TV Sales Expected to Skyrocket

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The global market for consumer electronics (CE) products has hit an all time high in 2010 with revenues topping $873 billion, according to CEA research announced at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas.

This represents a 13% rebound on 2009, when economic recession sent the market into a 9% decline.

What's more, growth is predicted to rise 10% and reach $964 billion in 2011, perhaps even topping a trillion dollars worldwide, predicts the organization.

Although growth was up in virtually every single nation in 2010, the developing BRIC nations—Brazil, India, Russia, and China—are stoking demand with revenues for CE tech in these markets expected to exceed that of the so-called developed markets of Western Europe and North America in the very near future.

The social trends driving the market are connectivity, mobility, and personalisation, while the key technology trends according to the CEA are embedded internet, wireless, HDMI, and 3D.

Sales of smartphones topped 51 billion in 2010, by far the leading tech sector driving global CE revenues.

Table Sales Excpected to Double in 2011
The tablet market is expected to double in 2011 from 17 million worldwide in 2010 to 30 million in 2011, according to Shawn Dubravac, the CEA's chief economist and director of research.

He predicted that more than 100 tablets will be displayed at CES from Lenovo, Samsung, Blackberry, and others. Dubravac says the e-reader market is expected to expand by an even larger percentage, from 20 million worldwide in the coming year up to 45 million by 2014.

The big question is whether any of these can punch the market dominance of Apple, which has around a 95% share with the iPad.

"The tablet category is still very nascent and use case scenarios are undefined," he said. "Differentiation is the key. Vendors know they will be next to 100 other devices, so they are going to be differentiated by size (in the 5-15 inch range), OS, pricing, use case and the integration of sensing technologies."

The optimal price point for tablets according to CEA research is around $350, suggesting that tablets are decently priced for strong consumer uptake, with portability the main reason for purchase.

GPS functionality is also likely to be prevelant, transforming tablets from a normal computing user experience to a device that is location aware.

The "sensorization" of devices has been identified as a key trend for 2011, according to Dubravac. These range from GPS to gyroscopes, compasses, and pressure gauges which, unlike a GPS, can help users navigate inside multi-story buildings.

"We are seeing intelligence being added to devices and altering the user experience," he said. "It is no longer about whether a sensor is in a device but how many are in a device. We're seeing gesture-based interfaces moving beyond a pure gaming accessory into other areas in the living room for controlling the TV or in-vehicle."

Internet-Connected TVs on the Rise
The CEA noted that internet-enabled TV's had a 9% market share of all TV sets sold worldwide last year, trumping that of 3DTV's at 3%. More than half of TVs shipped worldwide by 2014 will be internet connected, the CEA stated.

"Whereas in 2010 3D TV's were featured with internet as an add-on, in 2011 the roles are reversed and internet connectivity is the key functionality with 3D as an add-on."


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