Israel is one of the leading consumer electronics markets in the region, supported by a skilled workforce and a vibrant start-up market, which has attracted significant investment from global CE and IT firms. However, the implementation of government austerity programmes and falling consumer confidence squeezed spending on consumer electronics in 2013. Nevertheless, we believe continued take-up of smartphones, mobile operators' preparation to launch 4G and strong government demand for computers will maintain an average annual growth rate of 5.5% during our five-year forecast period to 2018. BMI's Country Risk team forecasts another year of weak private consumption growth in 2014, which poses a downside risk to our otherwise positive outlook.
Headline Expenditure Projections
- Computer Hardware Sales: US$2.7bn in 2013 to US$2.9bn in 2014, up 5.9% in US dollar terms. Tablets set to gain traction as operators prepare to launch 4G networks, putting further pressure on desktop sales.
- AV Sales: US$533mn in 2013 to US$562mn in 2014, up 5.6% in US dollar terms. Continued sales of Sony and Microsoft's consoles and flat-screen TVs support strong growth in the segment.
- Handset Sales: Outperforming segment of the consumer electronics market, rising 11% between 2013 and 2014 to US$457mn. Ever increasing 3G penetration and mobile operators' preparing for 4G should support growth in sales and shortening replacement cycles.
Key Trends And Developments
Israel has a vibrant tech start-up market which continues to attract global technology firms to the country. In the latest developments in the consumer electronics segment, Samsung plans to open a start-up incubator in Israel in October 2013, while Apple opened its third research and development centre in Israel in Ra'anana industrial zone in December.
Although the Ministry of Communications has not yet released 4G spectrum to mobile operators, Israel's five MNOs entered into two separate infrastructure sharing agreements, in preparation for the launch of LTE. In November 2013 Partner and HOT Mobile entered into a 15-year 50:5:0 joint venture to operate and develop a single radio access network, pooling their spectrum resources and sharing network infrastructure. In the following month Cellcom, Pelephone and Golan Telecom entered an infrastructure sharing agreement, where the three operators will build and operate a shared LTE radio network through an entity that will be equally owned by Cellcom and Pelephone and will be supervised by all three operators.