Despite dropping prices, Americans spent more on consumer electronics last year than they did the year before that, suggesting once again that the gadgets are becoming essential parts of people's lives.
According to the Consumer Electronics Association's 12th Annual Household CE Ownership and Market Potential Study, the average U.S. household spent $1,380 on consumer electronics items last year, a 12% increase over the previous year. The average U.S. household also reports owning 25 consumer electronics products, up from 23 in the previous comparative 12-month period.
Individual spending, meanwhile, was up an average of 10% over the previous year, according to the CEA. The average adult spent $794 on consumer electronics last year, up from $725 for the comparative previous 12 months. Women spent an average of $631 (up 13%), while men spent an average of $969 (an increase of 7%).
"There's a strong desire for consumer electronics. It's one of those things people want, and they now look at it as a necessity rather than a luxury," CEA representative Steve Kidera tells Marketing Daily. "We're hopeful the worse of the [economic downturn] is behind us."
The biggest seller in the category continued to be HDTVs. Sixty-five percent of U.S. households now own at least one HDTV (up 13% over the previous year). At the same time, many consumers are now purchasing secondary sets; the average household owns 1.8 HDTVS, up from 1.5 in the previous year.
Other strong categories included computers, boosted in part by netbooks and tablet computers, and global positioning systems, which remain popular (reflected by a double-digit household penetration increase for two straight years), despite the prevalence of in-car GPS navigation (which is not tracked by this study) and on smart- and cell phones.
"Consumers still want the GPS system to put in their cars," Kidera says.
Over the next 12 months, HDTVs continue to be a desirable purchase for most households, with 23% saying they intend to buy a new set in the next 12 months. Other popular items: digital cameras (23%), standard cell phones (22%), laptop computers (22%) and smartphones (20%), Kidera says.