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In a dramatic sign of how consumer tastes have shifted to new, wireless products, global factory revenue for smartphones and tablets this year will rise to become larger than revenue for the entire consumer electronics (CE) market, the first time this has ever occurred.

OEM Factory Earnings Dominated by Mobile Gadgets

Worldwide original equipment manufacturer (OEM) factory revenue for media and PC tablets and for 3G/4G cellphones—a category dominated by smartphones—will amount to $354.3 billion in 2013, according to a new report from IHS. This will be 3% more than the $344.4 billion for OEM factory revenue for the CE market, a broad category that includes hundreds of product types, including televisions, audio equipment, cameras and camcorders, video game consoles and home appliances. The massive CE market historically has dwarfed the tablet and smartphone segment, with CE 30% larger just last year.

The attached figure presents the IHS history and forecast of OEM factory revenue for all types of tablets and 3G/4G cellphones; factory revenue is defined as the total OEM dollar value of all branded devices or equipment in a market. The figure starts in 2007, the year that smartphone shipments surged due to Apple’s introduction of the first iPhone. The figure also presents the boom in revenue during 2010, the year that Apple kicked off the media tablet market with the introduction of the initial model of the iPad.

"Consumer demand for smartphones and tablets has been flourishing in the past few years while sales growth for CE products has languished in the doldrums. The fact that these two product categories are on their own able to generate more OEM factory revenue than the entire CE market illustrates the overwhelming popularity of smartphones and tablets. Meanwhile, the CE market has gone flat, with many of the major product types experiencing either low growth or declines in revenue during the past six years,” said Randy Lawson, senior principal analyst for semiconductors at IHS.

Universal Mobile Devices Leave Single-Purpose Devices Behind

The rise of the smartphone and tablet markets has been remarkable, with OEM factory revenue expanding by a factor of nearly nine to $354.3 billion in 2013, up from $41.2 billion in 2007. Revenue this year will rise by a robust 31%.

However, the fast pace of growth is slowing, with revenue in 2014 increasing by only 18% to reach $418.6 billion. And with CE factory revenue declining in 2014, smartphones and tablets will expand their revenue lead dramatically, rising to a 22.2% advantage compared to the entire consumer electronics market. This gap will continue to widen and will reach nearly 35% in 2017.

In contrast, consumer electronics OEM factory revenue has been flat during the past few years, growing by slightly less than 1% from 2007 to 2013.

Of the 20 distinct CE product segments tracked by IHS, 14 will suffer a decline in their compound annual growth rates (CAGR) from 2007 through 2013. Some large product segments like LCD TVs are seeing growth in their revenue during that period. Even so, the CAGR for LCD TVs will be less than 10%, representing a major slowdown from the 83% rise seen during the previous six-year period from 2001 through 2007—the era of the global flat-panel TV replacement wave.

With LCD TV revenue starting to decline in 2014, the overall CE market is set for a long-term contraction as well. By the end of 2017, CE OEM factory revenue will slide to $327 billion, down 5% from the total in 2013.

Tags: Apple, iPhone, iOS, iPad, Google, Android, Samsung, Galaxy Tab, Galaxy

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