What’s the total value of the global market for consumer electronics? That market is worth $683 billion in trade value as of the end of last year, a $3 billion increase from the year before. In addition, there were 4.4 billion units shipped worldwide of electronics products, a 2.7% increase year-over-year, with the strongest categories including headphones, wearables and smart home products.
That’s according to a new report, the Worldwide Consumer Electronics Report, released by Futuresource Consulting.
However, it’s important to note that this report covers up to the end of 2019 and does not take into account any of the effects of the coronavirus pandemic. Futuresource, however, did say that the pandemic “has contributed to $88 billion being wiped from the overall forecast CE trade value in 2020, in comparison to our pre-COVID-19 forecasts issued last December.”
It has also reversed some trends. While the video game category posted a decline in 2019, multiple measures indicate that gaming has had a huge year in 2020. Such products as PC monitors and webcams have also seen a return to popularity, after years of decline, due to stay-at-home orders.
The study also found that there was little change in the brand landscape in most categories, as the top three brands haven’t changed in the majority of product category rankings.
“Companies are refining their strategies, aiming to position themselves favourably to maximise opportunities in developing business around connected CE products,” Simon Forrest, Principal Technology Analyst at Futuresource Consulting, said in the announcement of the study.
“Difficulties include mitigating limited growth across traditional products, adapting to the steady commoditisation of hardware and, more importantly, offsetting the competitive threat from software-only platforms and online services that are attracting consumers away from traditional CE business. There is a clear move towards companies presenting a portfolio of connected products, each of which are designed to work together and attract consumers to invest in vendor-specific ecosystems.”
As for the pandemic, the firm said that “the pandemic has dented consumer confidence and disrupted global supply chains. Turbulence across the CE market will persist for several months, with analysis showing a further $66 billion deficit globally in 2021 trade value compared to previous forecasts.”
However, recovery is seen eventually, with the market expected to “increase 20 percent in volume to total 5.2 billion-unit shipments annually worldwide in 2024, with these products contributing an additional $121 billion of trade value globally… the market shows resilience and we expect it to rebound reasonably quickly, returning to growth next year and with value largely restored to pre-COVID levels by Q4 2022.”
Stephen Silver, a technology writer for The National Interest, is a journalist, essayist and film critic, who is also a contributor to Philly Voice, Philadelphia Weekly, the Jewish Telegraphic Agency, Living Life Fearless, Backstage magazine, Broad Street Review and Splice Today. The co-founder of the Philadelphia Film Critics Circle, Stephen lives in suburban Philadelphia with his wife and two sons. Follow him on Twitter at @StephenSilver.