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.
While the TV, home theater and audio accessory categories have benefitted from robust headphone and earphone sales (units are expected to increase 16 percent and revenues 19 percent in 2012), 3D glasses—a relatively new addition to the mix—are expected to add $169 million as display manufacturers broaden the exposure of this technology.
Growth in other key CE categories impacts the accessory market as well. The explosion of tablets, with three in ten (29 percent) online U.S. consumers stating they own a tablet as of June 2012, has boosted the PC accessory market. In fact, CEA estimates PC accessories are contributing to seven percent of total revenue growth in 2012.
While peripherals such as keyboards, mice and cleaning/maintenance products continue to make positive contributions to the bottom line, cases and bags for tablets and notebooks are expected to deliver double-digit revenue growth through 2016.
Looking ahead to 2013, wireless phone and PC accessories are expected to receive a large increase in both sales and revenue. This is not surprising, given the strong growth forecasted for mobile connected devices through 2016. CEA research finds smartphones lead the list of top CE products households plan to purchase within a year (22 percent of households plan to purchase at least one in the next year).
The same holds for tablets, which is the fastest growing category in CE history. With one in ten (14 percent) of U.S. households planning to buy a tablet in the next year, those expected purchases explain the projected growth of PC and tablet accessories in 2013, particularly for carrying cases and bags.
Another key accessories category is gaming, with the popularity of home gaming consoles providing a lift for all gaming-related accessories. As a category, CEA research projects gaming accessories to generate low year-over-year single digit unit and revenue growth through 2016, but growth nonetheless.
Motion-sensing game controllers (such as the Microsoft Kinect and PlayStation Move) have added new accessories to the category, and thus a boost to revenues. The introduction of these devices is expected to increase shipments for corded and cordless gamepads and controllers. In addition, video gaming accessories are one of the most commonly gifted accessories, which will also likely help fuel sales.
Video gaming accessories are expected to add over $1.2 billion to the accessories category in 2012, two percent higher than 2011’s revenue for gaming accessories. Expect additional growth in CE gaming accessories when the new round of home gaming console products hits the market.
It should be noted that unit declines in some CE categories impact accessories. For example, CEA’s recent Sales and Forecasts (July 2012) projects unit declines in MP3 players of 25 percent compared from 2011. Correspondingly, CEA projects a nine percent decline in MP3 carrying case shipments this year. We also forecast declines in overall digital display units of eight percentage points from last year (although some displays are growing). The overall decline of displays likely explains shipment declines in remote controls and A/V cables.
We know accessories play a strong role in the industry’s bottom line. CEA conducts a host of studies on the industry and product categories, such as CE accessories. We often explore CE accessory trends by researching purchase intent and consumer preferences for CE devices, as well as the corresponding accessories that go with the device(s) they support. Given the prevalence of CE as a category, it is important to understand a few things about who purchases and uses CE devices and accessories.
Our upcoming accessories research study (scheduled to be released in Fall 2012) explores how Millennials (adults ages 18-29 years old) shop for consumer electronics and whether their behaviors are different from other generations. Where (and how) do these consumers buy CE devices and accessories? Where and how do they research the CE products they are looking to buy? And how (if at all) does this group influence the tech adoption among other family members and friends?
This unique body of research will provide key insights for everyone in the CE space who is involved in the manufacturing, marketing and retailing of consumer electronics and its accessories. For more information, visit www.CE.org/Research.