Global gadget spending projected to hit $1.1 trillion in 2013

Sales of tablets and smartphones are increasingly driving global tech spending.
(Andrey Rudakov / Bloomberg)

Global spending on consumer electronic devices is projected to hit $1.1 trillion in 2013, according to the Consumer Electronics Assn.

During a media briefing Sunday, Steve Koenig, senior director of market research for CEA, said that figure would represent about 4% growth from 2012. And, fingers crossed, it would reflect a turnaround of sorts from 2012, when spending unexpectedly fell about 1%.



However, even that modest forecast comes will caveats. The European economy could still wind up in the gutter. And in the U.S., although there was a recent agreement on tax and spending for the federal government, it remains unclear what effect it will have on consumer spending.

What is clear, however, is where this growth will come from: Emerging markets. Basically, Koenig said, “mature” markets such as Japan and Western Europe will be flat or slightly down in the coming years. The U.S. GDP is projected to grow about 2%, but even that looks iffy. Plus, it appears recent holiday spending was weaker than expected, he said.

Put together, the so-called major or mature markets are expected to grow 1% in 2013, compared with 9% for emerging markets, Koenig said.


And what are all these people buying? Tablets and smartphones. In 2013, the CEA projects that these two devices will account for 40% of all global spending on gadgets. In part, that represents a combination of growth because of innovation and cannibalization of other products such as TVs, gaming consoles and laptops.

How much are tablets killing it right now? Koenig said that by the end of 2013, in just the U.S., 44% of all households are expected to have one. That makes it one of the fastest growing devices in history, he said.



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