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Consumers Want Multi-Function CE Devices

Accenture study calls consumer electronics a 'four-horse race' among HDTVs, tablets, smartphones and PCs. Consumers desire all these devices to perform more than one function.


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According to an Accenture study, the percentage of respondents planning to buy multi-function devices in the next year has increased significantly.

Consumers are multi-taskers these days, and they want their electronics to be so, too.

That’s according to a study of 11,000 consumers conducted by Accenture, which also finds consumers are less likely to buy single-function electronics.

The “2013 Global Consumer Electronics Products and Services Usage Report,” which was released during CES 2013, explored consumer usage and spending habits for 16 types of consumer electronic devices, 11 of which perform a single function and five that execute multiple functions.

Consumers’ intentions to purchase single-function devices have fallen or remained flat compared with the prior year. For example, the percentage of survey respondents planning to buy Blu-ray DVD players fell slightly, from 11 percent to 10 percent, while purchase intentions for digital photo cameras, digital video cameras, and game consoles remained flat.

In sharp contrast, the percentage of respondents planning to buy multi-function devices in the next year increased significantly, from 16 percent a year ago to 36 percent for desktop and laptop PCs; from 27 percent to 41 percent for smartphones; from 20 percent to 33 percent for HDTVs; and from 16 percent to 23 percent for tablet computers.

“The consumer electronics market is now predominantly a four-horse race among multi-function devices—PCs, smartphones, tablets and HDTVs,” says Mattias Lewren, managing director for Accenture’s Electronics and High-Tech industry group. “This development amounts to a call to action for electronics manufacturers. They need to focus squarely on innovative devices with multiple applications, from browsing to media consumption to communications in various settings. Consumers want ‘do-it-all’ capabilities in various sizes and user experiences that fit their different lifestyle needs.”

The only bright spots for single-function electronics are eBooks, basic mobile phones and GPS units. The survey also polled respondents on operating system preferences. It revealed a lack of loyalty to any single operating system for use on most multi-function devices. Nearly two-thirds (66 percent) indicated they might consider purchasing a mobile or computing device with a different operating system. About one-fourth (24 percent) said they would consider a switch to “see what else is on the market”; 23 percent to “have a better user experience with another operating system”; and 23 percent to “get access to more innovative services and applications.”

“The lack of consumer commitment to any single platform offers numerous opportunities for electronics manufacturers,” adds Lewren. “The platforms that offer a more intuitive user experience, and diverse and sticky applications with compatibility across devices, will be key to creating consumer loyalty in this four-horse race.”





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