This week, the Consumer Electronics Association offered up a mild, though positive forecast for the winter holidays—as far as anticipated sales are concerned.
At the CES Unveiled New York show, the trade group talked up the quiet gains being made across the consumer electronics scene. The event is one of the annual preambles to January’s International CES conference in Las Vegas.
Shawn DuBravac, CEA’s chief economist and senior director of research, said consumer credit growth in 2014 had been slow, just under 1 percent on a year-to-year basis. In the last two to three months, however, that accelerated to about three percent, he said.
“Consumers are showing a willingness to go out, spend more, and take on some of that credit,” DuBravac said. Furthermore, banks seem more willing to extend credit, he said, counting both sentiments as positives for the approaching holidays.
He reiterated CEA’s forecast of 2.5 percent growth in consumer electronics spending for the coming holiday period, as compared to the just under 1 percent growth rate for last year’s holidays.
Consumers appear to be warming to the 4k Ultra HD television format, the next step up from HD, according to DuBravac. (See slideshow above for one of LG’s 4k televisions.) This is the highest resolution available commercially for television viewing and has been typically the province of early adopters with deep pockets. For all of 2013, about 77,000 of these new-generation televisions were sold, DuBravac said.
With the introduction of more screen sizes and different levels of pricing, the public seems to be taking more interest in 4k televisions (even if content at that resolution is scarce). In July, CEA forecast sales of 800,000 of those units for the year, and DuBravac said the industry is on track to hit that mark.
3D printing and wearable devices are growing and gaining attention, he added. But there was little surprise in the perennial tech gifts expected on most people’s wish lists: tablets, notebooks, TVs, smartphones, and video game consoles. “These five products essentially drive the overall consumer electronics industry,” DuBravac said. “They represent over half of total industry revenue for the entire year.”