In 2013 BMI forecasts that Australian demand for consumer electronics will grow by around 3%, as weaker economic growth is forecast to hit the market over the short-to-medium term. In 2013, the weakness in the job market will frustrate the government's efforts to lift the economy using policies that encourage household spending. Vendors will look to emerging product categories such as ultrabooks, Windows 8 tablets and phones, ultra-HD, smart and 3D TV sets, and LTE smartphones as areas of growth.
Longer-term consumer electronics market drivers include rising incomes, technology innovation such as 4G LTE mobile networks and 3D TV, product innovation such as OLED and ultra-HD TV sets, and government ICT programmes. Smart and ultra-large 3D TV sets, Windows 8 smartphones, ultrabooks and tablets are expected to be consumer electronics growth areas in 2013, while iPhones and Windows Phone 8s are increasingly popular with larger organisations.
Headline Expenditure Projections
Computer hardware sales: US$9.5bn in 2012 to US$9.6bn in 2013; 1% growth in US dollar terms. Forecast in US dollar terms flat, but lower-cost ultrabooks and Windows 8 upgrades should help to shore up demand.
AV sales: US$1.9bn in 2012 to US$2.0bn in 2013; +3% in US dollar terms. Forecast in US dollar terms unchanged, with releases of new products such as large-panel ultra-HD TV sets expected to combat continued price pressure.
Handset sales: US$5.2bn in 2012 to US$5.5bn in 2013; +7% in US dollar terms. Forecast in US dollar terms unchanged, with new generation of LTE-compatible devices fuelling strong growth in the smartphone market.
Australia's score is 72 out of 100.0, which puts it at first place in our latest Asia Consumer Electronics Risk/ Reward Ratings (RRR) table. The country's high country reward and country risk scores means it is ranked higher than Asian giants such as China and India. BMI expects Australia to continue to be one of the region's most important markets and at the cutting edge of trends like 4G mobile and 3D-TV.
Key Trends And Developments
- In the AV sector, Samsung stole a march on LG with the August 2013 launch of its 55-inch KN55S9C Curved OLED TV, which is the first ever OLED TV to be sold in Australia.
- In the computer hardware sector, a number of new tablets have been launched. These include Samsung's Galaxy 3 tablet range, which unlike the previous two incarnations, are aimed at price-sensitive consumers. The new range will be competing with the entry-level Apple iPad Mini as well as with another new tablet: the Asus-built Google Nexus 7.
- The August 2013 launch of Samsung's Galaxy Mega 6.3 has further blurred the distinction between smartphones and tablets. Notably, the Galaxy Mega 6.3 is being sold exclusively through JB Hi-Fi stores, rather than through traditional telco carriers such as Telstra, Optus and Vodafone; and its price of AUD599 reflects the fact that it is being sold as an outright-only (as opposed to contract) smartphone.
- The growing popularity of Android phones is borne out by statistics which reveal that, at the end of July 2013, the operating system held a 64.6% market share in Australia, reflecting a 3.8% y-o-y increase. The iOS platform from US consumer electronics company Apple claimed a 27.6% market share, up 0.1% y-oy, while the Windows OS from US software company Microsoft held 5.3% of the market, also up 0.1% y-o-y.
- According to research by US-based IT company Google and France-based market research company Ipsos, the rate of mobile ownership in Australia is higher than in most other developed countries: mobile penetration in 2013 has jumped to 64.6%, up from 37% in 2011 as a result of a range of new models, enhanced operating systems and software as well as improving networks.