Even with the economy still sluggish, the Consumer Electronics Association said it expects sales of smartphones and tablets to continue to drive U.S. consumer electronics (CE) industry growth. The trade group expects that sales in two device categories alone will represent 32.2 percent of CE industry revenue in 2013. Smartphone unit shipments are projected to reach 127 million this year and smartphone revenues are expected to exceed $37.8 billion in 2013, which would represent a 14 percent increase year-over-year. Tablet unit sales are projected to reach 87.1 million this year and revenues expected to surpass $27.3 billion. However, overall the U.S. CE industry is expected to reach $202.6 billion this year, stable compared to 2012 sales, with just 0.2 percent growth. That forecast is nearly three points lower than the CEA previously projected by CEA in January.
"Although the consumer tech industry is largely immune to the degree of turmoil experienced by other sectors, CE is not entirely impervious to the bigger picture," Shawn DuBravac, chief economist and senior director of research at CEA, said in a statement. "The front half of 2013 brought slower than anticipated economic growth in the U.S. driven by the fiscal drag of sequestration and expiration of the payroll tax, while the back half brings more tempered expectations for economic growth. However, the rest of 2013 should find itself on firmer footing, with several forthcoming product launches which should propel growth in the second half of 2013, through the holiday season and into 2014." Release