Chris Ely

Chris Ely

Chris Ely is the Senior Manager of Industry Analysis at the Consumer Technology Association (CTA).

CE Accessories Grow the Industry

Accessories, a key segment of the consumer electronics industry, are often overshadowed by top selling devices such as smartphones and tablets. Nevertheless, accessories are a strong growth driver for the industry as a whole. They add significant revenue in a number of different CE categories, and sales estimates look promising for 2013 and beyond.

The Changing Digital Imaging Landscape

With the advancement of smartphones and constant connectivity, point-and-shoot camera shipments are falling, while smartphone shipments continue to grow. Consumers are increasingly interested in sharing photos with friends and family, and point-and-shoot cameras are unable to share photos instantly like smartphones.

Never Underestimate the Power of Accessories

Accessories are sometimes overlooked in the CE product mix, even as they quietly strengthen the industry’s bottom line. Accessories abound in almost every CE product category including televisions, digital cameras, tablets, smartphones, gaming consoles, receivers, MP3 players and home theater systems. CEA’s recent Sales and Forecasts survey (January 2013) estimates accessory sales will reach $9.8 billion in 2013—a three percent increase from 2012. Looking ahead to 2014, CEA forecasts accessories to grow five percent to $9.9 billion wholesale.

Holiday Season Looks Good for CE Sales

As 2012 comes to a close and we start wondering what 2013 will bring, many eyes are on the holiday shopping season and what it might mean for our industry.
Indeed, holiday sales often ‘make or break’ a retailer’s bottom line. We know the upcoming holiday is especially important for the consumer electronics (CE) industry, given the popularity of CE as gifts.

Expect Accessories Growth

Though often perceived as a side dish to the devices they support, accessories represent a significant piece of the consumer electronics industry. Total accessories accounted for about 5 percent of U.S. CE revenue in 2011.

More Consumers Use Smartphones as Cameras

Digital cameras remain an integral component of America's consumer electronic basket, with household penetration at about 84 percent. But today's consumers have many options for capturing digital images, such as tablets, MP3 players, camcorders and smartphones.

CEA market research finds these newer devices are revolutionizing digital photography for a host of reasons, including more options for sharing and editing. Smartphones, in particular, will only gain popularity; their household penetration is about 55 percent, up from 39 percent in 2011.That might lead the market to think digital camera sales are experiencing pressures from smartphones. They are, but the adoption of new devices helps to create opportunities for the digital imaging industry, in part by generating new interest in dedicated digital cameras, including high-end DSLRs.

CEA's recent consumer research study, "The Changing Landscape of Digital Photography," finds that while more consumers are using their smartphones to capture images, they are not abandoning their digital cameras.

Digital Imaging Moves Into the 3rd Dimension

Despite being a mature CE category, unit shipments for digital cameras and camcorders increased in 2010 from 2009. Declining prices are one driver of this growth. But consumers are also attracted by the innovative features of the devices.

Apps Becoming the Main Course in CE

Judging by the strong sales numbers, consumers are deeply in love with their smartphones and tablet PCs. What makes the devices so intriguing are, among other things, their portability, connectivity, touch-screen features, Internet connectivity and, of course, apps.

What Green Means to Consumers and the Industry

You don't have to look far to see how concerns about the environment are impacting everyday life. Around the world, consumers, businesses and governments are joining the discussion with thoughts and proposals on new consumption, business and regulatory models for a greener economy. The consumer electronics industry is no exception. The green movement not only impacts the social responsibility of dealers and manufacturers, it will impact their sales.

Awareness of environmentally friendly concepts and behaviors is strong, but consumers' thoughts on what it means to be green have been unclear. CEA's "Shades of Green: Consumer Attitudes Regarding Green CE" study explores consumer opinions, attitudes and purchase behaviors as they relate to green consumer electronic technology. How much do consumers know? Where does the concept of green fall in the purchase decision process for electronics? And perhaps most importantly, will consumers demand green technology going forward?

The study finds most consumers have a strong grasp of basic green concepts. About 90 percent of consumers report they are familiar with typical green terms like "recycling," "energy efficiency," "organic" and "global warming," while more than 80 percent are familiar with "biodegradable." In addition, the study demonstrates familiarity with more nascent or obscure green concepts is improving. For example, 60 percent of consumers in 2009 say they are familiar with the concept of a carbon footprint. By comparison, CEA research conducted in 2008 found only one-third said the same. While the data does not say why awareness increased, the message for the industry is clear: mindshare of green ideology is growing.

Start Your Engines!

With increasing concerns about gas prices and fuel efficiency, you’d think consumers wouldn’t place much value on in-vehicle technologies. To the contrary, demand for in-vehicle technology has increased over the past decade as consumers want to be connected, secure and entertained on the road. But while consumer interest and demand for installed and portable in-vehicle technologies is growing, manufacturers and retailers must still develop business models that meet consumer demand and increase market share. The Consumer Electronics Association’s Automotive Electronics study, “What Consumers Have and What They Desire,” provides valuable insights on the in-vehicle technology market by exploring consumer sentiment, preferences and behaviors.

Demand For In-Vehicle CE Technology Takes Off

With increasing concerns about gas prices and fuel efficiency, you’d think consumers wouldn’t place much value on in-vehicle technologies. To the contrary, demand for in-vehicle technology has increased over the past decade as consumers want to be connected, secure and entertained on the road. But while consumer interest and demand for installed and portable in-vehicle technologies is growing, manufacturers and retailers must still develop business models that meet consumer demand and increase market share. The Consumer Electronics Association’s Automotive Electronics - What Consumers Have and What They Desire study provides valuable insights on the in-vehicle technology market by exploring consumer sentiment, preferences and

Building Business With Home Technology

The housing market boom has significantly boosted installations of home technology products, generating a wealth of opportunity for manufacturers, integrators and dealers. But retreating housing starts along with a colder economic climate have created doubt around the ongoing health and growth of the home technology market. Are the glory days gone or does opportunity remain? The good news is recent research from the Consumer Electronics Association (CEA) demonstrates builders remain committed to home technology, even during leaner times. But make no mistake, any dealer or installer competing in today’s home tech arena must think and act more strategically to maintain sales. For

Building Business with Home Technology

The housing market boom has significantly boosted installations of home technology products, generating a wealth of opportunity for manufacturers, integrators and dealers. But retreating housing starts along with a colder economic climate have created doubt around the ongoing health and growth of the home technology market. Are the glory days gone or does opportunity remain? The good news is recent research from the Consumer Electronics Association (CEA) demonstrates builders remain committed to home technology, even during leaner times. But make no mistake, any dealer or installer competing in today’s home tech arena must think and act more strategically to maintain sales. Nonetheless, signs are