The CEA collects data about the sentiment of consumers in the USA towards the economic development as well as technology spending. These sentiment surveys are not looking at what happened in the past, but are trying to project what is going to happen in the future. There is a difference between what people think about the economy in general and how they expect to buy technology products and these trends do develop differently over time. The following chart shows these results for the last eight years.
These indicators are of course not the only ones available. One often referred to is the Consumer Confidence Survey by the Conference Board. Similar to the CEA surveys, the Consumer Confidence Index slipped in April, showing a decline to 95.2 points (1985 = 100) from 101.4 in March of this year.
The CEA survey for the overall economy shows some impressive increases since the beginning of 2014. The current US economic situation is also influenced by the start of the political battle for the 2016 presidential election. As both parties have seen presidential hopefuls entering their respective campaigns, political statements have been influencing consumers’ perspectives.
Besides a positive development of the overall economy, the positive sentiment to buy technology-related products in 2015 remains relatively stable and on a level higher than in the 2008 to 2012 time frame.
At the beginning of 2015 CEA released a forecast for CE sales in the US, expecting a new record for 2015 with total sales of $223.2 billion. CEA sees the main part of the growth coming from new and emerging products like “3D printers, 4k Ultra-High Definition televisions, connected thermostats, unmanned systems, IP cameras and wearables such as health and fitness devices, smartwatches and smart eyewear”. For these market segments, CEA predicted total sales of $11 billion, an increase of 108% over 2014.
The data did show an increase in consumer expectations for the overall economy ib the first months of 2015, but this sentiment did not carry over to tech buying expectations. – NH