How CEA Membership is Shaping Our Industry’s Future
The consumer electronics industry is growing at breakneck speed, with an ever-expanding array of innovative products entering the market, enriching our lives and making our day-to-day routines a little easier. From smartphones and smart watches to connected appliances and connected cars, the consumer technology landscape is expanding in ways unimaginable only a decade ago.
According to the latest research from the Consumer Electronics Association (CEA), industry revenues are projected to grow two percent in 2014, driven by sales of mobile connected devices, which over the last decade have reshaped the consumer electronics (CE) landscape. Smartphones and tablets remain the industry’s primary revenue drivers. In 2013, smartphones accounted for nearly $43 billion in total industry revenue, and that figure is expected to climb another seven percent this year.
Industry sales remain steady in maturing categories like connected devices, TVs and gaming consoles, while shipments in innovative new technologies like connected thermostats, smart watches, health and fitness trackers, 3-D printers and ultra high-definition TVs are growing. These breakthrough technologies will augment total CE revenues to the tune of almost $5 billion in 2014—an astounding total, since just two years ago revenue from these emerging categories was too small to track.
The rise of these new technologies underscores one of the core beliefs at CEA: that innovation is America’s best hope for continued economic growth and prosperity. Perhaps the best example of how innovation comes to market can be seen at the International CES, held each January in Las Vegas. This year’s show attracted over 160,000 attendees from more than 140 countries around the world to experience the latest developments and discoveries in the consumer technology industry. More than 20,000 products were on display, including a host of new market entrants in 3-D printing and wearable technology. For more than 40 years, CES has been a proving ground for breakthrough technologies. Industry game-changers like DVD players, satellite radios, high-definition televisions, tablets and 3-D printers were all launched at CES.
In order for the CE industry to continue to thrive, we need a regulatory environment that supports innovation and encourages startups and entrepreneurs. Over the last few years, CEA has spotlighted the abuses of patent trolls and the harm they inflict on innovation and the economy by supporting legislation to increase patent transparency. Patent trolls don’t produce any products or services—they simply sue those who do. While the House passed a comprehensive patent reform bill late last year, the companion legislation is now stalled in the Senate. We do expect to see movement on this critical issue, most likely next year when a new congressional class arrives in Washington.
CEA has also been actively involved in efforts to free up additional licensed and unlicensed spectrum—the fuel for innovation. We’re facing a nationwide spectrum shortfall. CEA supports a successful FCC TV broadcast spectrum incentive auction to free up more licensed spectrum and unlicensed to power consumers’ growing demand for anytime/anywhere connectivity. Unlicensed spectrum generates $62 billion annually for the U.S. economy and is the fuel that enables many of our must-have devices—including Wi-Fi- and Bluetooth-enabled electronics—to talk to us and one another. This valuable resource is essential to keeping us connected and advancing innovation.
CEA invites you to get involved with our mission by becoming a CEA member. Our membership reflects the scope and breadth of diversity within the CE industry, encompassing all aspects of the supply chain from giant multinational corporations to niche startup companies, from the creators of the newest CE products to the retailers who sell them. Every CE company, regardless of its levels of revenue or stage of development, is encouraged to participate and help us grow the CE industry by joining us in our advocacy. To learn more about CEA’s membership options and help change the world one innovation at a time, email membership@CE.org.