U.S. Consumer Electronics Industry Today Report Released

The Consumer Electronics Manufacturers Association's recently released U.S. Consumer Electronics Industry Today indicates a healthy glow on the cheeks of specialty audio. US exports of component audio products amounted to $2.12 billion in 1997, an increase of 12% over the previous year's total of $1.89 billion. 1997's total represents a 25% increase over 1995, when almost $1.7 billion in separate audio products went out of the country. The figures are compiled by CEMA from US Department of Commerce figures.

The 122-page book includes highlights and updated statistics, along with a look ahead to the trends of tomorrow. In the report, the following product categories are analyzed: video, audio, mobile electronics, multimedia, communication and information, integrated home systems, and accessories. The book also includes a detailed history of the industry, in the forms of both an essay and a thorough timeline; a list of CEMA members; and contact information for related associations. Copies of U.S. Consumer Electronics Industry Today are available from CEMA's Communications department at (703) 907-7674.

The industry has enjoyed steady growth for each of the past five years. In 1993, exports totaled $1.2 billion, increasing to $1.4 billion in 1994. By comparison, imports of separate audio components have declined slightly from a peak of $4.04 billion in 1995. Imports totaled $3.9 billion in 1996, and $3.89 billion last year. Value-wise, roughly twice as much audio equipment comes into the country every year as goes out.

Overall, the American consumer electronics industry has grown ninefold in 20 years. Factory sales amounted to $8.14 billion in 1977, and grew to $72.11 billion last year. The continuing economic crisis in Asia, a major market for many American manufacturers, is expected to have negative effects on this year's bottom line.

Component audio systems and CD players can now be found in 55% of American households. Surprisingly, this exceeds by a large factor the presence of rack and compact audio systems, which are found in 38% of American homes.

Audio has a long way to go to catch up with television, however. The one-eyed monster has achieved a market penetration of 97%, exactly the same as radio receivers. Incidentally, more households have TVs than telephones (96%), an indicator of lifestyle priorities. Personal computers have reached 45% of American homes, a number that should rise as prices fall.

Sobering statistic: 3% of American households are still completely unplugged.