January 5, 2011

Global Gadget Sales Expected To Hit One Trillion This Year

Organizers are forecasting that global gadget sales may top one trillion dollars this year as the Consumer Electronics Show opens this week.

The Consumer Electronics Association (CEA) said on Tuesday that annual spending on mobile phones, computers, televisions and other items around the world is expected to rise 10 percent in 2011 to $964 billion.

"We may very well hit the trillion mark," said Steve Koenig, director of industry analysis for CEA, organizer of the annual CES, which kicks off in Las Vegas on Thursday.

"I'm bullish," Koenig told reporters. "That number is truly within reach."

Many of the latest devices will be on display at the Las Vegas Convention Center, where the four-day event is expected to attract over 125,000 visitors from around the globe and 2,600 exhibitors.

CEA said that it expected consumer electronics sales to grow by 23 percent in Western Europe this year and 15 percent in both North America and China.

Consumer electronics sales were expected to jump 10 percent in South America, eight percent in Japan, seven percent in Africa, five percent in Eastern Europe and four percent in the Middle East.

Sales increased 13 percent in 2010 to $873 billion after falling nine percent in 2009 in the depths of the recession.

CEA chief economist Shawn Dubravac said smartphones and tablet computers like Apple's iPad were expected to be among the hottest items in 2011.

"The standard handset is a declining market," Dubravac said. "All the growth you see is in smartphones."

CEA predicts that tablet computer sales would double this year over last year to around 30 million units while e-readers like Amazon's Kindle would rack up sales of 20 million units globally.

"Tablets will be one of the key themes at this year's show," Dubravac told AFP, as technology companies seek to emulate the success of Apple's iPad.

"I wouldn't be surprised if we saw 100 plus tablets at CES," he said, adding that the optimal price point for the devices appears to be around 350 dollars.

CEA said mobile computers will account for $220 billion in total personal computer sales of $316 billion in 2011, with desktop computers accounting for the remaining $96 billion.

Televisions with the technology to connect to the web and use applications will see continued growth with the CEA forecasting that 52 percent of TV sets sold in 2014 will have this technology.

Dubravac said that an emerging trend across devices was the increasing popularity of applications, which are dedicated mini-programs.

"Apps are huge," he said.

According to a CEA study, half of all mobile device owners use applications.

"We'll see a lot more shopping apps," said Ben Arnold, CEA's senior research analyst. "Apps that empower consumers."


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