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The consumer electronics (CE) industry will reach a new industry peak in 2011, with revenues exceeding $186 billion, according to the semi-annual industry forecast released today by the Consumer Electronics Association (CEA). Industry revenues also had a stronger than anticipated 2010, growing 6%.

“Innovation has become the engine for our global economy and it is so important that CES, the CE industry, our customers and our colleagues around the world embrace innovation as the central element of our shared future. Innovation can and will restore the economy and the consumer electronics industry will lead the way," said Gary Shapiro, chief exec and president of CEA.

Total CE industry revenues rebounded last year with growth that doubled July 2010 predictions. The industry will end 2010 with 6% growth to $180 billion. The CE industry will continue to see positive growth in 2011, with revenues growing more than 3% and reaching a new industry high of $186.4 billion.

Innovative new products, like tablets, electronic book readers and smartphones, helped spur consumer interest and brought stronger than expected growth throughout the year. Personal computer sales led the way in 2010, as the category became the industry’s primary revenue driver for the first time. Led by mobile computing, shipment revenues for personal computers increased 34% in 2010 to $29 billion, more than 16% of overall industry revenues. The category will continue to grow in 2011, with nearly 59 million units being shipped to dealers and revenues of $32 billion projected. Within the personal computer category, mobile computing, especially tablets, saw strong growth in 2010, with revenues climbing 35% to more than $21 billion. Tablets represent a little less than a third of all mobile computing revenues in 2010 and will claim a 36% share of shipment dollars in the category in 2011.

The wireless handset category was also a bright spot in 2010 and will see continued growth in 2011. Smartphones continue to lead the way, generating nearly $18 billion in shipment revenue with more than 55 million unit sales in 2010. In 2011, smartphone revenues will increase nearly 20% to more than $21 billion and 72 million units are projected to ship to dealers.

“The CE industry rebounded and consumers rallied in 2010, embracing innovative new technologies while maintaining a collective enthusiasm for familiar products that have become increasingly affordable. The big story in CE in 2010 was the sudden infiltration of tablets into the mainstream, which will continue well into the New Year. In 2011, the industry foresees additional sales growth allowing CE revenues to achieve a new sales summit," said Steve Koenig, CEA’s director of industry analysis.

With U.S. household penetration over 70%, sales of total digital displays fell for the first time. DTV unit sales are down one% in 2010, a result of market maturation and saturation. Internet-connected TVs were a bright spot within the display category. Unit sales grew 151% in 2010, resulting in more than $4 billion in shipment revenue. In 2011, sales will grow 63% and exceed $5 billion in revenue. 3DTVs will also see steady growth in 2011 as increased content from video games, Blu-ray movies and TV events, especially sports, will drive growth. 3DTV unit sales grew 91% in 2010 to 1.1 million units and will grow another 67% in 2011 to 1.9 million units.

With high-definition displays now solidly established in American homes, more consumers are upgrading their audio experience. Home audio unit shipments are up 27% in 2010. Overall, in-home technologies are up 5.8% as consumers continue to integrate their existing HD displays with other HD sources, such as surround sound, Blu-ray players and set-top boxes.

“Intense price competition continues to provide consumers with great deals on displays but are cutting into industry revenues. The resurgence of home audio is a signal that consumers are spending money and beginning to focus on a complete in-home high-definition experience," added Mr. Koenig.

Tags: CEA, E-Book, Blu-ray, Stereo 3D, HDTV, Business

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