Technology | Media | Telecommunications

Saturday, February 25, 2006

Consumer Electronics in a State of Flux

Consumer electronics would seem to be as competitive a field as any manufacturer could want. Manufacturers are subject to competitors who are offering different feature sets, consumers with transient tastes and unpredictable supply chains from business partners. Counting all of the business conditions, ostensibly there should be dramatic swings in global buying patterns of consumer electronics.

When In-Stat forecasted the unit sales of twenty different products for the years 2003-2009, the results showed that several product groups were in flux. Of the products surveyed, In-Stat found portable digital audio players (+57.0% CAGR), LCD televisions (+52.3% CAGR), and DVD recorders (+51.4% CAGR) to be the consumer electronics devices that had the most growth. Convergence is affecting older products. Analog televisions are being squeezed out by digital televisions (a �15.3% CAGR) and fax machines (a �13.9% CAGR) are integrated into multi-function peripherals.

In-Stat estimates that 200.8 million PCs were sold worldwide in 2005. The PC industry is a microcosm of larger consumer electronics trends. In 2005, Asia-pacific (China included) had a 20.3 percent surge in PCs purchased over 2004. While the mature markets of North America, Europe, and Japan had respective growth rates of 8.0 percent, 10.8 percent and 7.8 percent, it was the Rest of the World that had an 18.9 percent improvement over 2004. Newly found economic muscle in these regions is propelling PC sales.

The constant march of consumer electronics can be attributed to better manufacturing methods and better process technologies. Power supplies in consumer electronics are taking a smaller footprint due to nanotechnology. The advantage to the consumer is that products are either developing better feature sets or becoming less expensive - or both.