US consumer electronics outlook bodes well for Apple
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US consumer electronics outlook bodes well for Apple

Expect Apple's fortunes to keep growing as things as the tea leaves portend a good future for our favorite tech company.

The US consumer electronics devices market, defined as the addressable market for computing devices, mobile handsets and AV products, is projected to be worth around US$239.4 billion in 2011, according to Research and Markets (http://www.researchandmarkets.com). This is expected to increase to US$276.6 billion by 2015 at a CAGR (compound annual growth rate) of 3.0%, driven by premium TV sets (perhaps an Apple HDTV), smartphones (such as the iPhone) and notebooks (such as the MacBook Air and MacBook Pro).

In 2010, sales of consumer electronics products such as smartphones and LED-backlit TV sets grew strongly as the recovery gathered traction. However, falling average prices in many product categories placed revenues and margins under pressure, with the average price of a LCD TV set in the US market now below $600, while the average price of smartphones continues to fall. However, Apple's strong brand recognition and desirability factor should keep the company's sales brisk even in this tough economy.

Notebooks remain the largest product category but face competition from the smartphones of Apple, Palm, RIM and other vendors as well as tablet notebooks, spearheaded by iPad. However, Apple laptops -- particularly the MacBook Air - have defied this trend so far.

The US domestic video, audio and gaming device market is projected at US$64.5 billion in 2011. Video applications will account for around 80% of demand during the 2011-2015 forecast period, with growth areas linked to new technologies such as LED TV sets, 3D TV and Blu-ray. However, I don't see Apple getting into the game console business. Nor (unfortunately) do I see them supporting Blu-ray.

Total US market handset sales are expected to grow to around 160 million units in 2015. With an increasingly saturated US market, handset revenues will be driven by emerging product areas such as smartphones, touchscreen phones and HD camera phones. Smartphones will be a key growth area and are forecast to account for more than 50% of the US market handset sales for the first time in 2011, with Android models the fastest growing handset market segment.

As new long-term evolution (LTE) networks began to come online, this should boost replacement handset purchases. Look for the iPhone to continue to be a hot seller -- and an iPhone 5 with LTE support in the next couple of months.

-- Dennis Sellers

 
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