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IFA: Emerging Countries Provide Growth

CE sales in North America and Europe remain flat

April 17, 2012 By Jeff O'Heir

Sales of consumer electronics are expected to remain relatively flat in the U.S. and Western Europe during the next year, while emerging countries will provide growth opportunities in many of the major categories.

That was one of the overall takeaways from the IFA Global Press Conference, a preview to the annual IFA consumer electronics in Berlin, Aug. 31 to Sept. 5. The show's organizers also said manufacturers and CE retailers worldwide are striving to return to profitability by focusing on the value of products as opposed to discounted prices, much as they are in the U.S.

Here's a look at some of the major statistics, trends and issues that will continue to impact CE manufacturers and retailers worldwide during the next 12 months.



Worldwide retail sales of consumer-related electronics, IT products and telecom gear in 2012 are expected to grow 3-5%, topping $100 billion (USD), according to GfK Retail and Technology, the analyst that provided most of the following numbers.

Sales throughout this year will remain flat in Europe (for a total of $26 billion); drop 2% in North America ($25 billion) and 6% in Developed Asia ($12 billion); and increase 13 percent in Middle East Africa ($7 billion), 12% in Latin America ($9 billion) and 10% in Emerging Asia ($21 billion).

"The growth rate in North America and Europe is limited because what we need is new, innovative products," said Jurgen Boyny, global director Consumer Electronics GfK Retail and Technology, adding that many people in emerging countries are buying traditional CE products for the first time, creating plenty of new sales opportunities.



The global TV market will grow only about 1% this year. In developed markets, TV sales are expected to drop 13% and increase about 11% in emerging markets. Globally, sales of LED TVs in 2012 are expected to increase by 33%, connected or smart TVs by 56% and 3D TVs by 122%. While quality, size and price remain the top three factors consumers base their TV purchasing decisions on, power consumption has emerged over the last year as a solid fourth factor.



North America still leads the world in tablet sales with 45 million units expected to move off the shelves this year, up from 35 million in 2011. About 27 million are expected to sell in Western Europe, up from 12 million; and 6 million in Eastern Europe, up from 1 million last year.  

Tablets, of course, have fueled strong accessory sales worldwide, Boyny said. About 67 million docking stations/mini speakers, for example, shipped worldwide in 2011, a 14% increase from 2010.



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