Global Consumer Electronics Market Continues Growth

The global consumer electronics market (excluding North America) achieved sales growth of $42.8 billion in the first half of 2021, an increase of 18 percent, according to GfK. This marks a continuation of the growth trend that began last year, prompted by lockdowns and a greater focus on entertainment at home. Consumers continue to place value on premium and better-quality equipment. Working from home, meanwhile, is driving the demand for headphones and mobile stereo headsets.

The Covid-19 pandemic sparked a strong increase in sales in many sectors of the consumer electronics market in 2020. In the first half of 2021, the global consumer electronics market grew by 18 percent, registering $42.8 billion in revenue. These developments were driven by the lack of entertainment opportunities outside the home and the shift to working from home.

"The upward trend in the demand for consumer electronics is continuing apace in 2021. In particular, this is fueled by the strong demand for devices with better features" says Jan Lorbach, GfK expert in Consumer Electronics. "That said, retailers and the wider industry will have to be prepared for demand to stagnate in the second half of the year if pandemic-related restrictions are relaxed or not reintroduced. At this point, vacations and other leisure activities will take up a greater proportion of household budgets, which will mean less money spent elsewhere, especially on consumer electronics.“

The TV market achieved sales of $33 billion from January to June 2021 – 18 percent more than the same period in 2020, which included the first lockdown.  The growth drivers continue to be larger displays and more expensive devices with better features. GfK data show that sales of devices with screens larger than 60 inches grew to $11.3 billion (+46 percent) in the first half of 2021.

The gradual trend toward premium devices is also causing prices to rise. By way of illustration, a TV cost around $429 in the first half of 2020, but by the first half of 2021 this had risen to $536. But prices are also rising in mid-range segments that have not seen any significant innovation upgrades or the introduction of premium features.

The trend toward premium products is also evident in sales of peripheral devices such as soundbars with Dolby Atmos/DTS:X functionality. Global sales of such devices have more than doubled, to $311 million, compared to the first half of 2020. By contrast, devices without this functionality saw growth of 7 percent in the period from January to June 2021 but are still slightly above the pre-pandemic level.

Increased or continued working from home was again a strong driver of sales of headphones and mobile stereo headsets in the first half of 2021. Sales rose 26 percent to a total of $6.6 billion. In particular, the True Wireless segment saw an above-average 40-percent increase in sales to $4.5 billion. Devices with active noise canceling are also showing significantly stronger sales growth, with sales of $2.8 billion, almost double the figures for the same period in 2020, and more than triple those for 2019.

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