Thanks in part to rising demand for tablets and smartphones, the Consumer Electronics Association (CEA) has announced that it is projecting better than expected consumer electronics (CE) shipments this year in the U.S. and has revised upwards its industry forecast to a record $206 billion for 2012.
That would produce growth of 5.9%, two percentage points higher than the CEA projected in January, and mark the first time that CE shipments have topped the $200 billion mark.
The CEA is also predicting that growth will continue into 2013, when industry revenues will likely increase by 4.5%, reaching $215.8 billion.
One particularly hot area has been tablets, which the CEA is now calling the "fastest-growing product category in CE history."
The CEA is now expecting tablet shipments to reach $29.1 billion in shipment revenues this year, a $10.8 billion increase over their January forecast of $18.3 billion. If those estimates are realized, tablet sales will grow 83% in 2012 over 2011 and unit sales will hit 68.5 million.
Smartphones are another hot category, with shipments expected to hit $33.7 billion in 2012 as more than 108 million units are sent to dealers, up 24% from 2011.
"Tablets are the fastest-growing product category in the history of the CE industry, and sales will continue to increase as more products hit the market, offering consumers more choices in size, price, operating systems and app ecosystems," said Steve Koenig, CEA's director of industry analysis in a statement. "With U.S. household penetration of smartphones surpassing the 50 percent threshold, we're seeing slowing sales of dedicated devices, as consumers seek singular devices that can perform multiple functions. We expect this trend to continue into 2013."
The CEA is expecting that the decline in overall TV shipments will continue but that sets with advanced features will continue to see strong growth. Unit sales of networked-enabled TVs, for example, are projected to surpass 10 million, growing 56% in 2012 and shipment revenues for connected TVs will reach $9 billion, up 20% year-over year.
While much of the hype surrounding 3D has disappeared, sales of 3D-enabled displays are also growing rapidly. Unit sales in 2012 are expected to reach 5.6 million, up 104% year-over-year and shipment revenues will jump 75%, to more than $7 billion.