Consumer Electronics Sales to Decline in 2010

By Jessica Davis  |  Print this article Print

As more workers bring their own personal computers, tablets and smartphones into the office for business use, plenty of pundits have promoted the idea of 'the consumerization of IT.' But now it looks like U.S. consumer electronics spending will decline significantly in 2010 as well.

Will the consumerization of IT be enough to save technology spending? Not this year, according to a new report from market research firm IDC.  The report – ConsumerScape 360 – shows that the U.S. consumer electronics market has been hit disproportionately hard by the economic downturn. U.S. households are projected to spend 17 percent less on consumer electronics in 2010 than they did in 2009, a major recessionary year.

IDC said the projected decline was the largest among all the 20 countries surveyed. Emerging "BRIC" markets of Brazil, Russia, India and China are expected to lead the consumer electronics recovery with spending gains of more than 20 percent year over year, according to IDC.

"The survey found U.S. consumers to be extremely price sensitive, a clear sign that the economic downturn has had an impact not only on spending habits, but also on consumer psychology," said Michael DeHart, director of IDC's ConsumerScape 360 and Consumer Primary Research. "At the same time, U.S. consumers are far less likely to buy simple, basic devices, which is indicative of the population's strong affinity for consumer electronics."

The U.S. markets where IDC believes important opportunities exist for consumer electronics manufacturers include:

  • PCs and PC peripherals as U.S. households shift toward notebooks and PCs are viewed as personal CE devices.
  • Smartphones. With only 28 percent of U.S. households owning a smartphone, growth is a sure thing here, along with the growth in data plans and apps.  
  • HDTV. While ownership of these devices is already over 50 percent among U.S. households, growth is expected to continue.


Jessica Davis covers the channel for eWeek and Channel Insider. Her technology journalism career began well before anyone heard of the World Wide Web and has included stints at Infoworld, Electronic News/EDN, and the Philadelphia Business Journal. Her work has also appeared on CNN and Forbes.com. She has covered hardware, software and networking, as well as the business side of technology. She has won several journalism awards, including a national ASBPE award for best staff-written column, and was named Marketing Computers hardest working tech journalist on their inaugural list of top tech journalists. Jessica can be reached at jessica.davis@ziffdavisenterprise.com