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Consumer Electronics Industry Slides $4 Billion in 2012



In 2012, the consumer electronics industry in the U.S. continued to show declines for the second year in a row, posting $4 billion less revenues, or a decrease of 2 percent from the year prior. The industry still earned $143 billion in revenue in 2012. In 2011, the industry saw a 1 percent decline in revenue according to data reported by the NPD.

There are 5 top categories of electronics for the industry, including notebooks, flat panel TVs, smartphones, tablets, and desktop PCs. These five items contributed to 53 percent of sales and show an increase from 2011. However, only two items of the five actually posted positive growth, and those were the smartphones and tablets.


And despite decreasing revenues, not all news was bad. In the fourth quarter of last year, there was an uptick in consumer spending in the consumer electronics market, likely in preparation for the holiday shopping season. Additionally, as Windows 8 was released in that year, there may have been pent up demand for new PC and notebook purchases.

In terms of retail data, Best Buy, Walmart, Apple, Amazon, and Staples were the top retailers in 2012. Apple, Samsung, HP, Sony, and Dell were the top five brands for the year. Apple and Samsung were the only two brands to post increased sales while everyone else posted declines, according to NPD. 

As markets begin to mature and penetration for existing computing and technology products are high, manufacturers may be looking at new products and new form factors. High on 2013’s rumor lists include Apple’s foray into the HDTV segment with an iTV as well as smart watches from Apple and Samsung. Google itself is headed into the wearable computing market with its Google Glass project. New technologies such as flexible OLED panels, bendable glass, and better battery performance may be paving the way for new and exciting products. It’s still too early to tell if consumers will bite the bait in 2013 and increase spending once manufacturers release these new and unproven products.

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