Shopping for Electrical Items

Electronic devices have transformed the way we carry out the majority of our everyday tasks. Many consumers have now come to rely on all kinds of electrical goods, such as digital cameras, computers, cell phones, and televisions. In this article you will find the latest data on the consumer electronics industry in the United States with particular reference to the e-commerce sector.

An overview of the electronics industry in the United States

According to the latest figures published by market research firm NPD Group, the consumer electronics industry is one of the key economic players in the US economy. Last year, sales reached the $150 billion mark, with the most important categories being personal computers, televisions, tablets and e-readers, smartphones, and video game hardware. Approximately 20 per cent of all electronics sales consist of personal computers and related accessories.

It is estimated that the electronics industry provides 2.5 million jobs in the United States, and 12.5 per cent of all US-based manufacturing jobs are in the electronics industry. However, shifts in the global economy and in the labour market have put the US electronics industry in close competition with Japan, Taiwan, and Korea. Yet, the electronics industry in the United States remains strong, and as of 2012 approximately 50 per cent of its output was being exported.

Electronics and e-commerce in the USA

During 2012, e-commerce as a whole generated revenues for the value of $289 billion. Recent industry forecasts published by eMarketer predict that by 2016, online sales of electronic products will account for $87.9 billion of the total revenues.

In fact, the majority of online purchases in the United States involve computer and consumer electronics, which is the largest sector in the American e-commerce industry along with apparel. Both categories currently account for nearly 43 per cent of all online sales that take place in the US, and this figure is set to grow to 45.6 per cent by 2016.

Moreover, there are 37.6 million people who shop for electronics using electronics, what is known as m-commerce (mobile commerce). According to a recent survey carried out by comScore, m-commerce sales in the United States have been increasing steadily over the past two years, and currently stand at $10.6 billion. The majority of these m-commerce transactions are done from smartphones, as the volume of mobile transactions increased by 28 per cent when compared to the figures for 2011. During the second quarter of 2013, US shoppers spent $4.7 billion shopping online using their mobile devices.

Popular electronic products and brands

The most popular sub-categories of electronics are tablets and smartphones, followed by music and video (with a 16.3 per cent share of the market) and computers (with a 15.3 per cent share). In 2012, the market for home audio and digital media players grew by 2 per cent. Sony is the market leader in this category with a 32 per cent share of the market, followed by Panasonic.

In the computers sub-category, the top five electronics brands are Apple, Dell, Sony, HP, and Samsung, although Apple has the largest share at 35 per cent. Tablet sales are rising, as currently 41 per cent of online consumers own one and 72 per cent of consumers who regularly shop online expect to buy a tablet in the near future. The revenues for tablets amount to $27.3 million.

The development of Ultra HD technology has caused a rise in the sales of television sets, as the projected sales volume for 2013 is in the region of $314 million, and it is expected that a further 1 million units will be sold within the next two years. Thanks to improvements in technology and the economies of scale, it is now possible to get 65 inch 4K TVs for under $2,000, contributing to their popularity with purchasers.

The sales of video players and portable music players have declined, as consumers are increasingly turning to their smartphones to carry out the same functions. The same applies to in-car entertainment electronic products, whose sales are down by 9 per cent.

Shopping online for electronic products in the United States

Of all the retail shopping outlets, Apple has the largest share in the consumer electronics industry, although it is closely followed by direct competitor Samsung. Walmart, Staples, and Amazon follow suit.

Best buy electronics has experienced a 10 per cent increase in the number of visits to its site in just one year. Online sales for this retailer now account for nearly 40 per cent of the company's total revenue. Last year, Best Buy sold $477 million worth of electronics, including televisions, cell phones, laptop computers, tablets, home theater systems, cameras, camcorders, portable music devices, and video game consoles.

According to a report by Booz & Co., the most popular e-commerce destinations for consumer electronics were e-tailers (54 per cent), the manufacturers' own sites (12 per cent), and regular retailers such as department stores or electronics outlets offering online shopping options (35 per cent).