Shawn DuBravac

Shawn DuBravac

Shawn DuBravac is the chief economist of the Consumer Technology Association (CTA), a U.S. trade association representing more than 2,000 consumer tech companies.

It Was a Voice-Activated CES 2017

Looking back on the biggest trends to break out at CES 2017, CTA's Shawn DuBravac says 2017 is the year we move from tech-possible to tech-meaningful.

What to Expect in 2014

Each year in this column I reflect on the year behind us and look ahead at the year to come as I lay out my expectations for the next 12 months. In the last two years, I’ve started this column with virtually the same sentence: “In many ways a look ahead will be a look back.” While that will apply to some aspects of 2014, we will see some important shifts as momentum continues to build during the year.
 

Slow Growth Expected for 2013

Last year in this column, I started by saying, “In many ways a look ahead to 2012 will be a look back to 2011.”  As we close 2012 and push into 2013, the same could be written on multiple fronts.

A Look Back, a Look Ahead

In many ways a look into 2012 will be a look back to 2011. CEA’s current economic forecast suggests the economic landscape—and many of the commonly watched economic metrics—will be little changed in 2012. This is a similar story to the one that played out in 2011.

We started 2011 with the unemployment rate hovering at nine percent, very near where it is today. The employment picture will be little improved in 2012, and I expect that we’ll close 2012 with the unemployment rate near today’s levels. In 2011 consumers continued to move away from revolving credit, a trend I expect will continue through 2012. Moreover, with no real job growth we are not likely to see much disposable income growth. All told, the state of the consumer will not be noticeably different in 2012.

The economy “officially” grew in 2011, but we were mired in near-zero growth through the first half of the year. After spending the first six months of the year in a growth recession, the rate of economic growth did accelerate in the second half of 2011. I expect this trajectory to continue in 2012, but there are still strong headwinds. 

Consumer Electronics Trends to Watch

The last three years have been a volatile period in the history of consumer electronics. While a recovery is slowly taking shape, I believe the next few years will offer as much change as the in the last year or so. Here are a few trends worth watching: Store-within-a-Store Model Expands In the late 1990s,…

Consumer Electronics Trends to Watch

The last three years have been a volatile period in the history of consumer electronics. While a recovery is slowly taking shape, I believe the next few years will offer as much change as the in the last year or so. Here are a few trends worth watching:

Store-within-a-Store Model Expands
In the late 1990s, Apple’s presence within major retailers began to change, ultimately transforming into the now familiar store-within-a-store model. This gradual transformation pulled Apple products together within the store. Instead of merchandizing Apple products within the category where the products would sit next to similar devices, Apple products were increasingly merchandized next to other Apple products. The retail presence for Apple changed from an existence within categories to one of brand. As the Apple ecosystem of products expanded, so too did Apple’s store-within-a-store presence.   

How to Merchandise 3D

Television is the most ubiquitous of any device.  Nearly every household in America owns a television today and on average they own more than two and a half television sets.

Putting the Crisis in Context

The last 12 months have been tumultuous. What began with the implosion of inaccurately modeled and priced mortgages has moved throughout the credit and broader financial markets like wildfire. During this time we’ve seen the downfall of Washington Mutual, the largest bank failure in history, and the disappearance of an entire industry of independent broker dealers and investment banks.

The 360 Solution

Ten years ago, consumers bought consumer electronics devices largely independent of the services and content they would eventually use in conjunction with those devices. Those times are gone. As opposed to piecing together an a la carte experience by coupling hardware, software and services, today’s consumer is in search of a more robust, 360 experience. This 360 experience focuses less on what the devices, services and content can do in isolation and more on how they come together to provide the consumer with the experience they are seeking straight out of the box. This change is driving an important shift within the consumer

The 360 Solution: More Consumers Seek Full, Out-of-Box Experiences

Ten years ago, consumers bought consumer electronics devices largely independent of the services and content they would eventually use in conjunction with those devices. Those times are gone. As opposed to piecing together an a la carte experience by coupling hardware, software, and services, today’s consumer is in search of a more robust, 360 experience. This 360 experience focuses less on what the devices, services and content can do in isolation and more on how they come together to provide the consumer with the experience they are seeking straight out of the box. This change is driving an important shift

Mobility Redefined

Throughout the history of the consumer technology industry, the home has remained the hub for content. Today, households consume 75 percent of their total video content while at home. Even portable devices aren’t straying far. With 66 percent of consumers using their portable MP3 players and digital media players in the home, more consumers are using their portable players there than anywhere else. But consumer interests are changing. Consumers are becoming increasingly comfortable with the portable and mobile environment and they are mixing more content into their mobile experience. For example, while few consumers are currently watching television content on their portable devices,

Connecting With Tomorrow’s Technology Today

The first International CES debuted 41 years ago. Since then technology has made great strides, introducing a plethora of innovative products that not even George Orwell could have predicted. The 1970s were the information decade. The average household owned just 1.3 technology devices, and consumer technologies were largely used to receive information. Families gathered around a television or radio at a set time for the latest news and entertainment. The 1980s introduced the productivity decade. The technology industry unveiled the mobile phone and the personal digital assistant (PDA). The fax machine took off and software began leveraging the awesome power of the personal computer.

A Look Into the Future

A popular contest held each year at CES tries to identify the one product out of all the thousands with the greatest chance for success. Long before submissions begin flooding in, annual research conducted by the CEA Market Research gives us an idea of the types of products consumers might consider future blockbusters. In CEA’s 9th Annual Household CE Ownership and Market Potential Study, we not only gauge what consumers own now but what they plan to own in the future. This research reveals two categories of products I find especially interesting. For simplicity, we’ll refer to them as the “next-next” and the “potential.” Next-next products