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Our Data Deep Dive on the US Consumer Electronics Industry

1.92 billion people will make an online purchase in 2019 and contribute to global e-commerce hitting the $3 trillion mark. With U.S. consumer electronics contributing over $70 billion in 2018 and expected to top $95 billion by 2023, it’s worth asking how some of the more prominent electronic categories play into that market growth.

The laptop market is still alive thanks to business and gaming

Due to a relative lack of eye-opening innovation and the proliferation of alternative devices, laptops are seeing their demand dwindle by the year. It should come as no surprise that tablets are eating into laptops’ and (even more so) desktops’ market revenue as they continue to populate the proverbial sea. As such, laptop shipments are decreasing and their average selling price is falling accordingly.

That being said, the laptop market is still very much afloat, in part due to the niche needs of the business and gaming sectors. Furthermore, laptops’ popularity benefits from a speedy average stock replenishment time of 27 days (versus 114 days for tablets). That said, tablets do have a higher stocking freshness rate – a stat that indicates the percentage of products newly added within a selected time range – at 34% compared to laptops’ 27%.

Business and gaming driving forces have helped Dell, HP, and Lenovo rank as the top three sellers both in the U.S. and globally, with Dell enjoying U.S. sales growth of over 7%. Household name Apple comes in behind them at number 4, with 0.5% domestic growth in 2018.

Of all retailers that stock these laptops, Walmart boasts 13 times as many brands as its closest competitor! According to our own latest findings, 330 distinct brands are stocked at Walmart while second-in-line Target only offers in the range of 25.

Additionally, our product lifecycle analysis shows that the best time to catch a discount for laptops is around the holiday season in December. That’s in contrast with mobile devices, which benefit from the largest average price cuts right now – in February!

Of all consumer electronics, mobile devices have the highest category freshness

Regardless of when you purchase your phone, our data suggests that mobile devices have the highest category freshness. In fact, over 76,000 products have been stocked in the mobile category over the past 3 months as compared to 31,000+ in laptops and related accessories.

The Intelligence Node Product Lifecycle Dashboard actually calculates this for all sorts of products across retailers and industries. It can even determine how long an average fresh product maintains its initial discount, which in the mobile category is a brief 5.15 days.

As for which brands are offering these fresh products, Android and Apple devices accounted for over 60% of U.S. smartphone sales this past year. Apple comes in slightly behind Google’s Android in domestic market share, but their devices are used by almost 75% of users, and their respective operating systems (iOS and Android) can be found on nearly all U.S. smartphones.

When looking at the industry as a whole, we’re unsurprisingly in a golden age for mobile devices: U.S. users number well in the 200 millions, with further projected growth ahead. Tablets (as mentioned earlier) and e-readers are also experiencing health upward market trajectories, though the mobile phone boom may have resulted in camera sales facing the largest categorical markdown over the past three months with a whopping 22% price decrease.

Home entertainment provides the highest average discounts

That’s specifically in regards to home entertainment systems, which command over $4 billion in revenue with projected growth up to $5.5 billion over the next five years. And though these numbers are global, the majority of worldwide revenue lies in the States, where product prices range from several hundred USD to the tens of thousands (meaning those high discounts can be a serious boon).

“Home entertainment” can admittedly be a fairly ambiguous umbrella term. For more specificity: Both home audio systems and theater systems are witnessing a rise in sales.

As for actual televisions themselves, Intelligence Node data has found that over 300 distinct TV brands are available in the U.S. market, with offering discounts on 4K televisions averaging three times more than those on HD products. Samsung sits comfortably atop that leaderboard, followed by Sony, LG, and then VIZIO.

consumer electronics graph

This graph of home entertainment price changes from November to February indicates a positive relationship between high prices and overall fluctuation, with relatively expensive Sony’s prices oscillating considerably and cheaper options VIZIO and TCL fairly stable.

The final word: Deep dive data is crucial to retail success

That’s why Intelligence Node offers technological solutions to give you a leg up on the competition. For instance, the 360°Pricing™ tool gives intelligent insights such as price elasticity and inventory levels for most products in the e-commerce space.

So, while most online resources will tell you the obvious in that digital cameras are on their last leg, our detailed customizable dashboards can tell you that DSLR cameras have the greatest discounts in November while point-and-shoot cameras are cheapest in December. Or, that fans and cooler accessories have experienced the most price fluctuation over the last 3 months.

With Intelligence Node tools at your disposal, you can confidently make data-informed market evaluations in the consumer electronics industry and well beyond.