The consumer electronics market was valued at over US$ 1.7 trillion in 2016 and is expected to cross 3.8 trillion by 2024. Products categorized as consumer electronics are smartphones, tablets, computers, televisions, game consoles, digital cameras, automotive technologies, wearable technologies, 3D printers, and other home products.
Urbanization has led to an increase in the average income of the middle class population across the globe. As per stats provided by the Global Economy & Development Working Paper by Brookings Institution in February 2017, global middle class population was over 3 billion in 2015 and is projected to surpass 5 billion by 2030. This has led to substantial increase in discretionary income and large potential consumer base, resulting in increased spending on automated home products and electronics. Growing multi-channel retailing has provided easy access to the major international and domestic brands for consumers worldwide. These factors are predicted to fuel the growth of the consumer electronics market.
Advent of IoT and next generation connectivity technologies such as 3G, 4G, 4G LTE, and 5G are creating a conducive environment for proliferation of smart connected devices. Plummeting costs of bandwidth and sensors is expected to support growth of smart devices and provide impetus to the overall consumer electronics industry. According to Golman Sachs, as of 2014, the cost of bandwidth and sensors has decreased considerably over the last decade. Increasing purchasing power and rampant decline in prices of consumer electronic devices has placed the consumer electronics industry on a high-growth trajectory.
Smartphones account for around half of the consumer electronic product sales revenue. An estimated 2.1 billion smartphone users were reported worldwide in 2016. However, growth of the segment is expected to be largely stagnant due to maturing of the smartphones industry. The recent past has witnessed the emergence of various cost-effective smartphones from various new brands, offering good processing power and security features. This has resulted in a paradigm shift in the industry, with consumers from extreme ends of the spectrum, namely feature phone users and high-end smartphone users, inclining towards cost-effective smartphones. China is the largest market for smartphones, while India is projected to be the fastest growing market. Apple and Samsung are two of the largest smartphone manufacturers.
Increasing functionality of the smartphones has led to significant surge in power demands for these consumer electronics. Conventional batteries have proved insufficient in terms of space and power backup, leading to major reason for consumer dissatisfaction. Innovative methodologies to solve these problems are surfacing, that include concepts like wireless charging, li-imide batteries, Quick Charge 2.0 (by Qualcomm), super capacitors, battery packs (Trontium Reactor can charge an iPhone 50 times), and ultra-fast charging (such as StoreDot). Major of these technologies are still in their nascent stages but players are likely to increasingly invest in improving the operation time of their devices. For instance, in February 2016, Intelligent Energy partnered with an emerging smartphone manufacturing to develop an embedded hydrogen fuel cell for smartphones that can power smartphones for a week. This joint development agreement (JDA) was valued around US$ 7.5 million.
Personal consumer applications
TFT LCD, IPS-LCD, resistive touchscreen LCD, capacitive touchscreen LCD, OLED, AMOLED, and Super AMOLED are the common types of smartphone displays. 720p, 1080p, 2K and 4K Ultra HD are few of the standard resolutions offered by these mobile display technologies. AMOLED are gaining substantial popularity in high end phones owing to better color reproduction, low power consumption, better battery life, higher brightness, lightweight designs and display sharpness. Super AMOLED, developed by Samsung, is integrated with touch sensors on the screen making it the leanest display technology in the industry. Increased damage resistance, economical availability and better user experience are the factors that are likely to influence sales of smartphones over the next few years.
Television sales were over US$ 116 billion in 2016 however they declined in 2017 owing to proliferation of content streaming on mobile devices and video on-demand services such as Netflix. Ease of access to content and better user experience through mobile, laptops, tablets, etc. is projected to favor the market growth. High initial cost of smart and high resolution TVs is expected to hamper consumer demand over the coming years. However, demand for low cost alternatives such as LCD TVs is projected to continue.
Technological innovations such as electronic paper (or e-paper) and foldable displays are expected to gain significant momentum over the next few years. E-Paper is a display technology that imitates the appearance of ink on paper. Additionally, these displays can show image in absence of light and are featured to consume little or no power by displaying a still image. Such technological advancements are expected to drive the adoption of foldable displays. Wearable technologies find considerable potential in the healthcare sector for recreational activity tracking and infotainment through products such as fitness trackers, smart watches, and headphones. In consumer electronics, wearable technologies are expected to present the highest growth trend over the near future.
All kinds of domestic appliances such as refrigerators, washing machines, air conditioners, microwave, induction cooktops, food processors, dishwashers and dryers are included in white goods. The advent of smart connectivity integration into these appliances is expected to facilitate growth of this segment. Increased energy efficiency offered by the next generation products and improving living standards are predicted to positively impact the market growth.
Smart thermostats, connected security cameras, and VR/AR headsets are other industry segments that will present potential growth opportunity over the forecast period. However, the consumer electronics market size is expected to decline substantially owing to the maturing smartphones market.
Chief contributors to the industry include Samsung Electronics, LG Electronics, Apple, Hitachi, Koninklijke Philips, Sony Corporation, HP Inc., Toshiba Corp., and Panasonic among others. Industry presence can be largely attributed to established brands across the international industry along with few regional brands holding significant industry share.
Players operating in the consumer electronics market are focused on product innovation and development to increase their product appeal. Furthermore, strategic collaborations and partnerships among market players to enhance their market presence is also expected to favor the market growth. Moreover, governments in several major economies are focusing on digitization which is predicted to create growth opportunities for the manufacturers of smartphones and other portable devices. Singapore, Finland, Sweden, Norway, and U.S. are among the major economies harnessing digitization.
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