NPD forecasts solid year for consumer electronics

Heading into the 2013 holiday season, NPD is forecasting that full year consumer electronics sales will rise by 9%. According to NPD’s 2013 Household Penetration Study, nearly 72% of consumers expect to buy a consumer electronics product in the next 12 months.

The report found that big ticket items like flat-panel TVs and tablets are fueling the increase in spending. Throughout the next two years, 28% of consumers expect to buy a flat-panel TV while 20% intend to buy a tablet, representing the highest purchase intent levels of all devices measured. 

Purchase expectations for some other categories that were once in high demand are on the decline, according to the study. For example, Blu-ray player purchase intent declined from 16% in 2012 to 12% in 2013, reflecting both the maturity of the product category and competition from other devices that also deliver video content. Streaming media players, for instance, are owned in just 8% of U.S. households, but second-quarter 2013 sales nearly equaled Blu-ray volume. The continued sales growth of tablets and connected TVs will also challenge consumer adoption of Blu-ray.

“Consumers have an abundance of devices to choose from when deciding where to watch video content,” said Ben Arnold, NPD’s director of industry analysis. “Today, it seems that nearly any device with a screen and an Internet connection can be used as a video player. As a result, Blu-ray players are now competing as one of many options for watching video content, and sales of video devices reflect this shift.”

The report also found that other changes in the marketplace have actually benefited existing product categories. Growing adoption of mobile devices like tablets and smartphones has helped fuel sales increases in stereo headphones with microphones, which are up 65% in the first half of 2013, and wireless streaming speakers, which have nearly quadrupled. In home audio, household ownership of audio systems featuring surround sound has declined to 29%, while soundbar adoption (now at 9% of households) and sales (up 54% compared to last year) grows as consumers gravitate to their sleek design and minimal footprint in the living room.

“As consumer electronics products become embedded with more features and evolve in design, existing product categories will continue to be challenged by new devices coming to the market,” said Arnold. “While mobile devices have been the catalyst behind much of the current shifts in the industry, more change is likely upon us as hardware manufacturers and application developers push into new usage scenarios and environments.” 

More than 2,500 members of NPD’s online panel participated in the survey which was published in the second quarter of 2013.

The NPD Group provides global information and advisory services to drive better business decisions. It helps its clients track their markets, understand consumers and drive profitable growth. Sectors covered include automotive, beauty, consumer electronics, entertainment, fashion, food /foodservice, home, luxury, mobile, office supplies, sports, technology, toys and videogames.