Gary Shapiro on consumer electronics trends and the CEA

Gary Shapiro, president and CEO of the Consumer Electronics Association, CEA ( talks with

In this exclusive interview, read Mr. Shapiro’s responses to questions about consumer electronics industry trends and what’s in store for the future; the whims of finicky consumers, private-label consumer electronics, demographics of the fastest growing consumer electronics purchasing segment and what they’re buying, and more.

Transcripts from that discussion follow … There is an ongoing trend for private-label consumer electronics products being built by retailers such as Wal-Mart and Best Buy. Some say the trend is shifting influence away from electronics products built by OEMs — to electronics manufacturing services (EMS) providers and original design manufacturing (ODM) companies — whereby these outsourcing providers then work directly with the retailers to develop private label electronics products. How fast does the CEA feel the private-label consumer electronics market is growing? Which end-market segments do you see experiencing the fastest growth, and why?

Private label brands are a cyclical phenomenon, but they present brand reputation risks and retailers also simply go for the lowest price product. We often see retailers get burnt by lower cost vendors who may not be paying patent royalties, complying with applicable laws or considering warranty obligations.

CEA market research forecasts some of the fastest growing consumer technology segments in 2008 to include LCD TVs, HDTVs (1080P) and high-definition DVD players (Blu-ray or HD DVD).


Gary Shapiro, Consumer Electronics Assoc. Gary Shapiro
President & CEO
Consumer Electronics Association CEA)


As the cut-off date for analog broadcast, February 17, 2009, quickly approaches and flat screen TVs become more affordable the HDTV market will continue to soar. Which age range, or segment, of consumers who purchase electronics products (e.g. students, teens, adults, professionals) has CEA found to be the most active when it comes to buying the latest technology product? What types of consumer products is this group purchasing? What do you feel are two of the top drivers for this segment’s decision to purchase?

Shapiro: Early adopters, accounting for roughly 20 percent of consumer electronics buyers, are the most active purchasers of new technologies. The early adopter segment spans all demographic variables, although a higher concentration can be found in the 24 to 44 age segment. CEA’s market research forecasts the fastest growing categories in 2008, based on year-over-year shipment revenue growth include, but are not limited to the following:

Head Units w/ Bluetooth A2Dp 219%
LCD TVs (greater than 50 inch) 122%
Full HD (1080P) TVs 115%
High Def DVD Players (Blu-Ray or HD-DVD) 112%
Head Units w/HD Radio Tuning 94%
Head Units that are Mechanism-less 85%
Camcorders Capable of Recording in HD 83%
Portable Navigation (Traffic Data Compatable) 74%
VoIP Phones, adapters, kits 62%
Plasm TVs (greater than 60 inch) 43%

In addition to the obvious drivers of feature set and price point, two factors that are increasingly driving consumer electronics sales are product design and aesthetics, and products that easily connect and interact with other devices.

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