2003 Year-End Consumer Electronics Sales Exceed Estimates

Manufacturer-to-dealer sales of consumer electronics products will total a record $101 billion in 2004—a 5 percent increase over 2003—according to the Consumer Electronic Association's (CEA's) semiannual "U.S. Consumer Electronics Sales & Forecasts" report. In addition, CEA said that 2003's year-end manufacturer-to-dealer sales of consumer electronics products totaled an estimated $96.3 billion, a 2 percent increase over 2002 figures. Several consumer electronics categories surpassed 2002 figures and blew away estimates for last year's totals.

One of the successful categories was the video sector, whose sales of Digital Television (DTV) products account for $6.1 billion of the 2003 consumer electronics industry revenues, representing an increase in sales of 44 percent over 2002 figures. New display technologies have helped boost the growth in sales of DTV products:
· CEA estimates that sales of plasma TVs will reach nearly $1.5 billion in revenues for 2003, up from $515 million in 2002.
· LCD television sales during 2003 will total $651 million, compared with $246 million in 2002.

CEA projects another banner year for DTV product sales in 2004, with sales of $8 billion. Sales of plasma displays are expected to generate $2.2 billion in 2004, and revenues of LCD displays are projected to increase to more than $1 billion. Sales of standalone DVD players helped the technology maintain its position as the fastest-selling technology of all time with 2003 sales of more than $3 billion, up from $2.4 billion in revenues during 2002. Currently, 50 percent of US households own at least one DVD player.

The audio category also jumped in sales in 2003. MP3 players shot past all estimates for a record-setting year in 2003 despite debates over home-recording rights. Factory-to-dealer shipments of MP3 players totaled 3.8 million units during 2003, an increase of 121 percent compared with 2002, and are expected to rise again in 2004 to more than 5.1 million units.

In digital imaging, digital camera sales totaled about $3.4 billion for 2003, up 22 percent from 2002. Digital camera use continues to climb in the United States—33 percent of households own at least one digital camera.

Two categories once thought to have reached a plateau—PCs and wireless phones—saw growth in 2003. PC sales turned up in 2003 as unit sales rose about 15 percent and sales totaled $12.5 billion. Sales of wireless telephones increased by 20 percent, with sales of almost $9.2 billion.

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