BMI View: BMI forecasts that the Venezuelan consumer electronics market will grow by around 4% in 2012, but the precarious economic environment will inhibit IT investment. BMI has upwardly revised our market forecast after stronger-than-expected credit fuelled private consumption growth in 2012. A 'notebooks for schools' programme, and the acceleration of Venezuela's programme for digital broadcasting migration, will also provide a boost to consumer electronics spending over the next few years.
However, economic and political uncertainty, following the delayed inauguration of President Chavez due to illness and the possibility of another devaluation of the Bolivar, clouds the market outlook. Restrictions on foreign currency also constrain demand for foreign imports of consumer electronics products. Despite a challenging trading environment, BMI expects an expanding population, rising disposable income and easier access to consumer credit to have positive effects on Venezuela's consumer electronics sales over the long term.
Computer hardware sales: US$1.28bn in 2012 to US$1.29bn in 2013, +1% in US dollar terms. Forecast in US dollar terms downwardly revised due to macroeconomic factors. Given a difficult trading context, the main long-term sales driver is greater affordability, partly as a result of cheap computer programmes, while the PCs for schools programmes is another market driver.
AV sales: US$1.1bn in 2012 to US$1.2bn in 2013, +6% in US dollar terms. Forecast in US dollar terms unchanged, but Venezuela's digital migration should drive demand for flat-screen TV sets.
Risk/Reward Rating: Venezuela's score was 36.5 out of 100.0. Low Country Risk and Market Risk scores of 28.2 and 35.0 exacerbated the effect of relatively low Potential Returns. Venezuela took last place in our latest Americas Consumer Electronics RRR table, but if there was a change in the country's policy mix after the 2012 elections - not our core scenario - the country's ranking would have the potential to increase over time.
Key Trends & Developments
- Venezuelan computer shipments should record positive growth over our five-year forecast period, due partly to the government's affordable computer programmes, computers for education and more local production of inexpensive computers. Around 500,000 notebooks were expected to be procured for schools in 2012, as the government's digital classrooms programme is expanded to secondary schools.
- 2012 was a significant year, as it marked the launch of the government's plans to complete implementation of digital TV. The government launched digital TV pilots in five cities in 2011 and has now set a new target of 50% terrestrial digital television coverage by the end of 2012. Sales of flat-screen sets will be an area of opportunity as consumers upgrade their old models to digital. In March 2012, Venezuela announced that it would purchase 300,000 digital TV boxes and 12 DTT transmitters from Argentina.
Venezuela has a reputation for being one of the more promising markets for smartphones in the region. Regional telecoms giant Telefonica has said that 70% of its regional BlackBerry sales were in the Venezuelan market. Operator promotions are a key driver as they look to attract high-end subscribers and boost data revenue. The launch by mobile operator Claro of a pre-paid SIM card for Android services helped to expand the market in the high-end phone segment.