The State of the Consumer Electronics [CE] can be summed up in a word: stagnation. Across an increasing number of segments in the CE industry growth was either stagnant or shrinking – most notably in the mature North American and European markets. Overall, the data presented was quite gloomy. In fact, CE growth was flat; exactly zero percent.

Important trends identified in 2009:

  • As can be expected China, followed by India and South America, experienced growth in their economies. Asia with the sub-continent of India is beyond question the premier emerging markets to exploit with an influx of wealth especially among the burgeoning middle class. Japan, however, appears to be an anomaly because Japan is not enjoying the renaissance the other Asian countries are enjoying.
  • Growth in South American markets is not offsetting the losses in the cooler North American and European markets.
  • The U.S. economy is still extremely important, even seemingly teflon China felt the ill effects of the economic crises in the United States
  • If you want to to remain profitable do two things:  Innovate and penetrate the Asian market – particularly China.
  • Flat panels were the story of the year posting significant positive growth.
  • Game consoles, digital cameras have mature install bases – a.k.a. saturated markets with little room for growth.

Quixotically, 2009 saw CE unit sales volume increase while gross revenues decreased. With the rise of the popularity of netbooks you can see the consumers are watching their wallets with apprehension and demand value. Disposable income is at an all-time low.

There are bright spots and reasons to be optimistic about a recovery. Consumer electronics items were more sought after than ever during the 2009 Holiday season. Consumer electronics and IT companies are about one thing. Innovation. We’re all hoping the global economy’s New Year’s resolution is not to repeat another 2009.