Electronics industry sets out its stall
The 2013 International CES consumer electronics show in Las Vegas this week will seek to banish the blues of 2012, where TV shipments fell, a new generation of Windows 8 computers disappointed and the year ended with a 7 per cent fall in US Christmas sales.
The annual setting-out of stalls for the industry has already set a record – 1.87 million square feet of exhibition space stretched across the city, up slightly from 1.86 million in 2012 – as manufacturers pin their hopes for the new year on thousands of new products on display for the first time.
Gary Shapiro, president of the US Consumer Electronics Association, which organises the event, predicted more than 150,000 trade visitors, including 30,000 from abroad.
Shift from PCs
The show will reflect a shift away from traditionally dominant categories such as the PC, while new devices may no longer be the key to success with consumers, according to analysts.
James McQuivey, analyst with Forrester Research, said users were less swayed by hardware features such as bigger screens and brighter pictures.
“It’s a very bitter pill to swallow for manufacturers, but the device is no longer the centre of the digital universe. Now consumers’ digital relationship is with the platform and content, whether it’s iTunes or Google Play or Amazon, and that relationship dictates the devices that interest them.”
Microsoft has given up both its traditional eve-of-show keynote slot and its convention centre booth, with Qualcomm chief executive Paul Jacobs now delivering the keynote and his company’s presence becoming larger than that of rival chipmaker Intel for the first time.
Qualcomm has overtaken Intel in market capitalisation as investors noted its leadership in smartphones, a faster-growing category than PCs, where shipments declined in 2012.
Apple’s next move
Apple has long ignored the show but reports that it will make a serious assault on the TV market in 2013 appear to be galvanising TV makers into announcing improvements to their smart TV models and greater interaction with smartphones and tablets. Other technologies expected to be strongly represented at the show include wireless charging, gesture and voice controls, 3D printing, in-car interfaces and wearable technology such as smartwatches.
The NPD research firm reported this month that global TV shipments were expected to have declined 6 per cent in 2012 in tough economic conditions, while Windows US notebook Christmas unit sales fell 11 per cent and overall US consumer electronics spending was down 7 per cent. – Copyright The Financial Times Limited 2013