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CEA Finds American Households Spend An Average Of $1,400 Annually On Consumer Electronics


The average U.S. household reports spending $1,405 on consumer electronics products in the past 12 months, $120 more than the year before, according to new research released today by the Consumer Electronics Association (CEA)®. The 10th Annual Household CE Ownership and Market Potential Study shows that HDTVs will have the highest growth in household penetration rates this year.

“More than 50 percent of American homes already own a digital television and it looks like high definition, or HDTV, has the potential to match that household penetration by the end of the year,” said Chris Ely, CEA’s senior analyst. “With the transition to digital television on February 17, 2009, lower HDTV prices and an increased awareness of the benefits of high definition, many consumers are deciding to upgrade their televisions.”

Cell phones, MP3 players, digital cameras and laptop computers are also driving growth in the industry. “Consumers are seeking portable consumer electronics products,” Ely continued. “The ability to listen to music, check email and make calls while on the go is what consumers want.”

The increasing popularity of multi-functional devices has led to a slight drop in the average number of consumer electronics (CE) products owned per household, from 25 products in 2007 to 24 in 2008. As devices combine functions, consumers are able to consolidate their products. “Consumers can now take pictures on their cell phones or watch DVDs using their portable GPS system,” Ely explained. “Consumers also owned dual products for years, such as a DVD player and a VCR combined into one unit. Now, consumers can transfer their content to a multi-function portable device and take it with them.”

The demographics of a household also determine CE purchases. Households with three or more people report owning 32 devices compared to just 17 for smaller households. Men also tend to own a larger number of, and spend more on, CE products, on average, than women. The study shows the average man reports owning 25 CE devices and will spend more than $1,000 on CE products in 2008 compared to the average women, who owns 21 devices and will spend $600. However, women are far less likely than men to consider CE products in the house “theirs personally.” Women are also increasingly influencing their households’ CE purchases. Some forty-five percent of all retail CE purchases in 2007 were made by women at the checkout counter. Consumers 45 years old and younger, those with children in the home and those with higher incomes tend to spend more on CE products than the average adult.

Despite uncertain economic times, the growth in the CE industry is projected to continue in 2008. With strong growth in several categories including flat-panel displays, PCs and video game systems, the industry is on pace to outperform last year’s total of $161 billion in overall shipment revenues.

The 10th Annual Household CE Ownership and Market Potential Study was conducted between January 31 and February 4, 2008. It was designed and formulated by CEA Market Research, the most comprehensive source of sales data, forecasts, consumer research and historical trends for the consumer electronics industry. Please cite any information to the Consumer Electronics Association (CEA)®. The complete study is available free to CEA member companies. Non-members may purchase the study for $999 at


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