By Holland Cooke
NEW YORK — You’ve seen those lines whenever a new iPhone came out? During the recession, and now in recovery, consumer electronics (CE) has been a conspicuous bright spot, and will continue to be. On-track to grow 5.9% to a $206.5 billion business in the USA alone in 2012, CE is projecting a 4.5% increase to $215.8B in the new year.
Each November, the Consumer Electronics Association does a press preview of its Consumer Electronics Show, the mammoth, mind-boggling January convention I cover each year for RadioInfo. Here are my notes…and radio should take note, for four reasons:
- Obviously, we want-in-on the advertising for those billions in merchandise.
- And, after all, radio was the original electronic gadget. And we now play in a real crowded arena. Listeners have become accustomed to acquiring information/entertainment content — radio franchises a generation ago – other ways. Smart stations are now publishing on multiple platforms.
- Enthusiasm for electronics is an audience-building and advertiser-bonding opportunity. As contest prizes, iPhone and iPad are catnip; and we pack-the-room when we offer either as a door prize when client stations have me present to retailers and agency people over lunch. Smart talk stations include a gadget show among weekend specialty programs, and the CE category combo-sells well with automotive and home improvement shows, since tech is so fundamental to those categories.
- The broadcasting and consumer electronics industries don’t always play-nicely. As recent severe weather and other episodes have exposed the wireless platform’s limitations, broadcasting has pressed-for – and the CE and Wireless industry have lobbied-against mandating – FM tuners in mobile devices. Radio stations which are still adequately staffed to step-up remind listeners of AM/FM radio’s “first informer” value. And because the Washington DC area has recently suffered several blizzards, a dang earthquake, and other routine-halting events, members of Congress “get it.” Your station will continue to be conspicuous if you can deliver when-the-fit-hits-the-shan.
“Black Friday will be bigger (and longer) than ever.”
Consumer Electronics Association Holiday Sales Forecast
Wal-Mart and Target have already announced early openings, Thanksgiving night.
Having frustrated early shoppers in years past, retailers will offer in-stock guarantees. If they do run-out of items, they’ll issue shoppers coupons for first-dibs on ASAP re-stock. Price-matches will be common. These are copy points I am recommending that stations include in spots you write for local retail advertisers who operate accordingly.
CEA forecasters caution: “Weather could play a role.”
We already know what will be in Santa’s sleigh, because CEA research nails it every year. And, based on a national survey sample of 1019 USA adults, they’re forecasting that tech toys will top the list again in the looming holiday shopping season:
- 76% of gift buyers plan on buying at least one CE product.
- The average 2012 tech gift spend is $252. That’s 30% of gift USA adult shoppers’ total holiday gift spend.
- “Tablets will dominate” CE holiday gifting; forecast up 112% over last year.
- 20% of USA adults say they’ll buy a TV this holiday season.
- Also big: smartphones and Digital Single Lens Reflex cameras and Wireless Multi-Room Audio.
HOW BIG are tablets and smartphones? $60+ billion in the USA alone. With ‘em, CE unit shipment grew 6% this year. Without ‘em, the industry would be down 5%.
WHAT’S HOT, WHAT’S NOT, WHAT’S NEXT
- Holiday shopping E-commerce is forecast +14% over last year.
- 2012 Holiday CE Wish List (adults):
- Tablet: 16%
- TV: 10%
- Smartphone: 8%
- Notebook computer: 7%
- E-reader: 45
- MP3 player: 4%
- VG console: 4%
- Blu-ray player: 3%
- Digital camera: 3%
- 10.Desktop PC: 2%
- “The sun is setting on” MP3 players, of-which iPod was leader-of-the-pack. Big-reason-why: music on smartphones.
- Sales of TVs 20″ and smaller declined 1/5 year-to-year.
- Innovation revs-up. The smartphone design-to-shelf development cycle is now 9 months max.
- “Smartphones and tablets collide.” Separate research from eMarketer: 17 million 7-inch tablets shipped last year; this year 34 million (worldwide); by 2013 that number will nearly double.
- Ultra-HD TV, just introduced, is four times higher-def’ than HDTV. Imagine? Why: because screens are getting bigger. And, as when HDTV was introduced, Ultra-HD early adopters will pay through-the-schnozz. CEA forecasts that Ultra-HD will attain 9% of the HDTV market by 2016.
- “The concept of ‘a TV’ is changing before our eyes.” 3 years ago, TV transitioned analog-to-digital. Next transition: “[Internet] connected TV,” already proliferating, will become commonplace. This can offer radio a path to the new “TV.”
- “Full-fledged home health care systems:” Smartphones already support an array of health/fitness measurement. “Innovation is meeting a need as healthcare costs escalate,” and as Baby Boomers monitor their elderly parents.
- UltraViolet video, “Your Movies in the Cloud:” We’ve already seen movies sold as two-disk packages, DVD and Blu-ray. Now they’ll come with a third configuration: “secure, lifelong access to content in the cloud across platforms and from any and all manufacturers and retailers who enable UltraViolet.”
See/hear/read more from consultant Holland Cooke at www.HollandCooke.com; and follow HC on Twitter @HollandCooke.