CEA: 2009 CE Sales Outlook Has a Few Bright Spots
As prelude to the opening in Las Vegas of the 2009 International CES, show sponsor CEA’s lead statisticians laid out data that showed a continuation of slowed sales trends but also pointed to some bright spots in certain high-growth tech categories.
The results, presented by Steve Koenig, director of industry analysis, and Shawn DuBravac, CEA economist, came from a State of the Industry report where 10 percent of “tech insiders” polled said tightening credit had had a severe negative impact on their businesses and another 37 percent qualified the impact as at least moderately negative.
“Discretionary spending has turned negative in the last few months,” said DuBravac, with consumers “squeezing back” by delaying purchases or curtailing what they perceived as excessive spending. “However,” he added, “technology continues to outperform other durable goods such as the major appliance and auto industries. Consumers consider electronics a necessity.”
While 2009 will remain a challenging year, with consumer spending in the negative percentile, the second and third quarters will likely see a spending lift driven by government stimuli. And some of the beneficiaries of the lift, he added, would likely be the following CE growth categories, including: OLED display products (up 149 percent); e-readers (up 110 percent); HD flash camcorders (up 106 percent); netbooks/subnotebooks (80 percent); communicating thermostats (up 71 percent); next-gen DVD players (up 62 percent); 120MHz LD TVs (up 57 percent); traffic-compatible portable navigation (up52 percent); MP3 players with wireless connectivity (up 41 percent); and combination home-theater-in-a-box/Blu-ray systems (up 30 percent).
The 2009 CE sales outlook in unit growth for four categories in particular was in the positive ranks: digital displays (5.8 percent); wireless handsets (2.6 percent); PCs (5.1 percent); and game consoles (2.8 percent).
DuBravac commented that consumers were nowadays looking at their purchases “in a kind of holistic manner” – an attitude he said could have accounted for smaller-size flat-panel sales increases in the last few weeks, “even though flat panel had a tremendous 2008. Those kinds of substitutions could indicate that consumers are looking at things with a ‘What can I cut out?’ point of view.” Koenig added: “Another way to look at it is that consumers are also upgrading other rooms in their homes with smaller flat screens. With purchases of smaller screens, discrete audio components will suffer, but it makes for greater opportunities with sound-bar-type audio products.”