Smartphones and tablet computers will help push worldwide consumer electronics spending over $1 trillion this year but growth is sluggish compared to last year, according to industry analysts. “Most product categories are slowing down or going into contraction,” Steve Bambridge, global business director for GfK Boutique Research said recently ahead of the annual Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas.
“Really there are two main exceptions: tablets and smartphones,” Bambridge said at a briefing for reporters before the official opening of the high tech gadget extravaganza. GfK and CES sponsor the Consumer Electronics Association (CEA) forecast that global spending on technology products will grow five percent in 2012 to $1.04 trillion compared to eight per cent growth last year and $993 billion in sales.
GfK and CEA said they expect smartphone sales to grow 22 per cent this year compared with 59 per cent last year while overall tablet sales are expected to double to more than 100 million this year. As demand slackens in the United States and Western Europe grapples with an economic crisis and wobbly Euro emerging markets such as Brazil, China and India will increase their share of spending on consumer electronics, GfK and CEA said.
Emerging economies are expected to account for 46 per cent of global tech sales revenue in 2012, up from 37 per cent in 2008, while developed economies will see their share fall to 54 per cent from 63 per cent over the same period.
Last year, more than 100 tablet computers alone were unveiled at CES as rival manufacturers sought to capture the magic of Apple’s hot selling iPad. Dubravac said he expects to see about 50 new tablets this year and a plethora of snazzy smartphones which he described as “more like full-fledged computers.”
Desktop personal computers on the other hand are a category of device which is “in decline if not completely dead,” said CEA director of industry analysis Steve Koenig. Television sales, meanwhile, are expected to be flat with whatever growth there is coming from emerging markets. Dubravac said he expects to see more televisions capable of connecting to the Internet as the convergence of the Web and the TV set “evolves quite rapidly.”