CE Revenue Will Reach Record High in 2011

CEA reports revenues grew 6% in 2010 and are expected to hit $186B in 2011. Home audio, connected TV and 3D are seen as bright spots.

Jason Knott · January 7, 2011

The overall growth in the consumer electronics (CE) industry mirrored the growth in the custom electronics industry in 2010. Revenues grew a stronger-than-expected 6 percent in 2010, and will reach a new industry peak in 2011 of $186.4 billion, according to the Consumer Electronic Association’s (CEA) semi-annual industry forecast released at CES 2011.

“Innovation has become the engine for our global economy and it is so important that CES, the CE industry, our customers and our colleagues around the world embrace innovation as the central element of our shared future,” said Gary Shapiro during his opening remarks at CES. “Innovation can and will restore the economy and the consumer electronics industry will lead the way.”

Total CE industry revenues rebounded in 2010 with growth that doubled July 2010 predictions. The industry will end 2010 with 6 percent growth to $180 billion. The CE industry will continue to see positive growth in 2011, with revenues growing more than 3 percent to reach the new industry high.

State of the Industry 2011
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Innovative new products, like tablets, eReaders and smartphones, helped spur consumer interest and brought stronger growth throughout 2010. Personal computer sales led the way in 2010, as the category became the industry’s primary revenue driver for the first time. Led by mobile computing, shipment revenues for personal computers increased 34 percent in 2010 to $29 billion, more than 16 percent of overall industry revenues.

The category will continue to grow in 2011, with nearly 59 million units being shipped to dealers and revenues of $32 billion projected. Within the personal computer category, mobile computing, especially tablets, saw strong growth in 2010, with revenues climbing 35 percent to more than $21 billion. Tablets represent a little less than a third of all mobile computing revenues in 2010 and will claim a 36 percent share of shipment dollars in the category in 2011.

The wireless handset category was also a bright spot in 2010 and will see continued growth in 2011. Smartphones continue to lead the way, generating nearly $18 billion in shipment revenue with more than 55 million unit sales in 2010. In 2011, smartphone revenues will increase nearly 20 percent to more than $21 billion and 72 million units are projected to ship to dealers.

“The CE industry rebounded and consumers rallied in 2010, embracing innovative new technologies while maintaining a collective enthusiasm for familiar products that have become increasingly affordable,” said Steve Koenig, CEA’s director of industry analysis. “The big story in CE in 2010 was the sudden infiltration of tablets into the mainstream, which will continue well into the New Year. In 2011, the industry foresees additional sales growth allowing CE revenues to achieve a new sales summit.”

With U.S. household penetration over 70 percent, sales of total digital displays fell for the first time. DTV unit sales are down 1 percent in 2010, a result of market maturation and saturation. Internet-connected TVs were a bright spot within the display category. Unit sales grew 151 percent in 2010, resulting in more than $4 billion in shipment revenue. In 2011, sales will grow 63 percent and exceed $5 billion in revenue.

3D TVs will also see steady growth in 2011 as increased content from video games, Blu-ray movies and TV events, especially sports, will drive growth. 3D TV unit sales grew 91 percent in 2010 to 1.1 million units and will grow another 67 percent in 2011 to 1.9 million units.

With high-definition displays now solidly established in American homes, more consumers are upgrading their audio experience. Home audio unit shipments are up 27 percent in 2010. Overall, in-home technologies are up 5.8 percent as consumers continue to integrate their existing HD displays with other HD sources, such as surround sound, Blu-ray players and set-top boxes.

“Intense price competition continues to provide consumers with great deals on displays but are cutting into industry revenues,” said Koenig. “The resurgence of home audio is a signal that consumers are spending money and beginning to focus on a complete in-home high-definition experience.”

The U.S. Consumer Electronics Sales and Forecast 2006-2011 (January 2011) is published twice a year, in January and July. Non-members may purchase the study for $2,000 at

  About the Author

Jason has covered low-voltage electronics as an editor since 1990. He joined EH Publishing in 2000, and before that served as publisher and editor of Security Sales, a leading magazine for the security industry. He served as chairman of the Security Industry Association’s Education Committee from 2000-2004 and sat on the board of that association from 1998-2002. He is also a former board member of the Alarm Industry Research and Educational Foundation. He is currently a member of the CEDIA Education Action Team for Electronic Systems Business. Jason graduated from the University of Southern California. Have a suggestion or a topic you want to read more about? Email Jason at [email protected]

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