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CEA predicts best year ever for US CE industry

Peak industry body predicts stellar year for US consumer electronics channel

Consumer electronics channel revenues in the United States are expected to surpass US$155 billion in 2007, according to a new report published by the Consumer Electronics Association (CEA).

This figure represents a 7% increase over 2006 sales results, itself a record year for the US consumer electronics industry.

"The consumer electronics industry has outdone itself once again, with revenues totaling US$145 billion in 2006, and we're on track for another year of healthy growth," said CEA president and CEO Gary Shapiro. "We surpassed original projections for the second year in a row. Consumers are benefiting from our industry's innovations and only want to see more of them."

CEA research suggests digital display technologies will generate US$26 billion in revenues in 2007. It claimed that the mandatory inclusion of digital tuners in all television receivers sold in the US is responsible for these gains, as are unprecedented price declines in plasma and LCD displays. For 2007, flat panel display manufacturers are expected to ship a combined 19 million units in the US.

The launch of next-generation gaming consoles is also expected to buoy the sector, with sales revenue set to US$16 billion, representing a 23% increase over 2006 results.

The CEA predicted that MP3 players would account for 90% of the US$6 billion in revenues generated by the portable media market in the US. Thirty-four million MP3 players shipped in 2006 and an additional 41 million are expected to ship in 2007.

"One of the biggest drivers of both the audio and portable entertainment markets is the MP3 player," said Todd Thibodeaux, CEA's senior vice president of industry relations. "It continues to ship at large volumes and 2007 will be no different as many consumers will be replacing their first generation players with new players offering video playback capabilities."

Thibodeaux predicted demand for portable navigation and GPS devices would remain high. Two million units shipped in 2006, marking a 66% rise over 2005 results. More than three million units are expected to ship in 2007, generating more than US$1 billion in revenues.

Other product categories that are expected to see substantial sales growth in 2007 are PCs, accessories and digital imaging devices. In 2006, shipment volumes of notebook PCs eclipsed their desktop counterparts in the US.

Consumer electronics accessory sales are also expected to grow in 2007 by US$11 billion, in large part due to an overall consumer emphasis on portability. Total digital imaging shipments are expected to exceed 32 million units, with revenues projected to reach US$8 billion, making 2006 and 2007 the best years on record in terms of sales revenue for this category.