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Consumer Electronics Household Spending Down 15%


American household spending on consumer electronics is at its lowest point in five years, CEA Study finds

The average U.S. household spent $1,179 on consumer electronics (CE) products in the past 12 months, according to a new study released today by the Consumer Electronics Association (CEA). CEA's 13th Annual Household CE Ownership and Market Potential Study found that the average household spent $201 less on CE devices in the past year compared to the year before.

The average adult spent $652 on CE products in the past 12 months, down from $794 the 12 months before. Women spent, on average, $520 on CE, down $111 from last year's study. Men reported personally spending $793, down $176 from the 12 months before. The average household reports owning 24 discrete CE products, down slightly from 25 devices last year.

"Consumer ownership of most devices has increased despite consumers spending less on CE in the past year," said Brian Markwalter, CEA's senior vice president of research and standards. "Several factors have led to a decrease in spending, including changes in consumer purchase patterns, product consolidation, decreasing price points and the high unemployment rate."

The 13th Annual Household CE Ownership and Market Potential Study also found that video products continue to be the most-owned CE device. Forty percent of televisions in U.S. households are HDTVs with LCD TVs the preferred choice. Internet-connected TVs and 3DTVs, both included in the study for the first time this year, are two new products driving video growth. In particular, broadband-enabled TVs are expected to have a quick uptake with 10 percent of consumers planning to purchase an Internet-connected TV in the next year.

Household penetration for LCD TVs grew the most of any CE device over the past 12 months as well, growing 12 percent year-over-year. Wireless CE products also gained momentum among U.S. households. Ownership of eReaders doubled to 13 percent over the past 12 months. Additionally, more than one-third of households now own a smartphone and almost one in 10 households own a tablet computer. These products are expected to see increased penetration in the marketplace this year as they were among the top devices consumers intend to purchase.

"There are lot of new and innovative wireless technologies attracting consumer interest and excitement," said Markwalter. "The popularity of these devices and other emerging CE products will be a bright spot for the industry moving forward."

The study also showed that households are increasingly streaming video content through their devices. Subscriptions to movie rental services experienced a 40 percent growth year-over-year. With more than 28 million subscribers, content providers have enabled access to services directly through displays, game consoles and other set-top boxes connected to the Internet. Greater broadband access will continue to increase streaming video subscriptions.

The 13th Annual Household CE Ownership and Market Potential Study (May 2011) was conducted between January 27-31, 2011. It was designed and formulated by CEA Market Research, the most comprehensive source of sales data, forecasts, consumer research and historical trends for the consumer electronics industry. Please cite any information to the Consumer Electronics Association (CEA). The complete study is available free to CEA member companies at Non-members may purchase the study for $999 at the CEA Store.

* Chart compiled from CEA's Annual Household CE Ownership Studies from 2007 to 2011.

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