WELCOME TO THE DIGITAL WORLD
Key Outtake from the IFA 2014 Global Press Conference
The world of electronics has always been classified under three major groups. You’ve got Information Technology (IT) that governs everything computing, computers and the internet; Consumer Electronics (CE) generally covers everything audio-visual, from personal entertainment such as headphones and media players to home entertainment, which has your TV, speakers and amplifiers. To a lesser extent, home appliances can be grouped into CE as well depending on who you’re talking to, but we’ll come to that later. Lastly, we have the Telecommunications (Telco), where communication devices and services reside. Electronic devices and their usage scenarios have always been specific enough that they will fall under one of these three categories, but not anymore.
Today, the lines have blurred, so much that some believe we’re looking at a new electronics paradigm. In a panel briefing at the IFA 2014 Global Press Conference held in April 2014, Juergen Boyny, Global Director, Consumer Electronics Consumer Choices, at GfK, mentions the term “Digital World” as the replacement.
The major factor contributing to the Digital World paradigm is the immense growth of the mobile telecommunications sector. By 2015, GfK forecasts that Telecoms will grow to encompass 44% of the electronics market, and 49% of this market will be in APAC where one smartphone will be sold every second.
Gerard Tan, Digital World, GfK Asia Pacific, expanded on the APAC market, showing that the telco market grew by 29% in 2013 over 2012. In the same period, CE was down by 2% and IT down by 6%. Drilling down further, the digital camera market took the largest hit, being down by 16%.
Apps and digital services now determine what we use our devices for and it is no surprise that smartphones and tablets have largely replaced just about every other dedicated device we used to rely on. They can take on the role of IT for productivity, internet and gaming; they can take on the role of CE for entertainment, movies, music, and photography; they continue to evolve telecommunications, extending traditional voice and messaging with data and apps. Basically, we seem to have already found the perfect personal electronic device in the forms of the smartphone and tablet, and their future – at least according to GfK – is not slowing down one bit
However, interestingly, home consumer electronics and appliances continue to thrive in this Digital World. While our smartphones adapt to what we need them for through apps and services, home appliances are designed for a specific functionality. You can’t cook dinner or wash the clothes with your smartphone. These devices will continue to grow smarter, attain more connectivity features, sophisticated sensors and automation. Your living room will also still continue to be the core driver at home; despite the assault of mobile devices, the average daily TV viewing time around the world has actually grown in the past 5 years.
The rapid adoption of new form factors such as curved screens and 4K ultra high definition, the integration of services including apps and connectivity, plus growing screen sizes and lowered costs have allowed the TV market to see continued growth.