HOME SWEET HOME Global Consumer Electronics Industry Revenue to Grow 5% in 2012 The latest research from Strategy Analytics predicts that despite uncertain global economic conditions, revenue of the global Consumer Electronics device industry is expected to grow by 5% to reach nearly US 0 billion in 2012, driven mainly by mobile devices such as tablets, smartphones and laptops. Strategy Analytics predict that growth will be driven by the North America and Asia Pacific regions, which will see 5% and 7% respectively. VIDEO GAMES ON CONNECTED TV TO GROW RAPIDLY Worldwide consumer spending on video games on connected TVs will now grow rapidly. Driven by rising availability of free-to-access games, surge in sales of Internetenabled TV devices, and less hurdles from user interfaces, middleware, and hardware, IHS Screen Digest expects a rise from million in 2012 to .6 billion in 2016. What’s Hot in 2012... in Home Entertainment New TV Replacement Cycle Under Way TV manufacturers are at a quandary to come up with ideas to lure new customers, as most European homes already have flat TVs. We are arriving at the first true replacement cycle of the early generations of LCD and Plasma TVs, meaning consumers are looking for not only great picture quality, but also striking design and cool features. Of course the big news is that large size OLED is finally arriving – albeit at a premium... but the trend has been announced. LG and Samsung both have stunningly sexy 55-inch OLED sets, and while LG has been more assertive in “preannouncing” their product (with a virtual production line model on show at the World IT Show in Seoul, and a dedicated website already online), Samsung have been playing their cards closer to their chest, so there will be a great deal of interest as to what their “ready for market” product looks like. In terms of design, ultra thin – or virtually non-existent bezels – are a key trend. Most top manufacturers are releasing new models with metallic finish bezels, and in terms of image Bigger IS Better Miss IFA presents the SHARP AQUOS LE-80LE 645 TV LG demonstrated its OLED TV at the recent World IT Show in Seoul. A fully finished model is expected at IFA. quality, for those who can’t yet afford OLED, the exceptional contrast and colours offered by LED backlighting and new LCD filter sets are excellent selling points for new TVs. Gesture and vocal controls are “on the way”, and while they are available on some existing sets, they are still far Sharp will be demonstrating its new 90-inch TV at IFA. While there has been some hesitation by retailers to push big screens, a technique which has proven to work in selling over 55-inch sets is to put them on show alongside a “very” big set. Therefore, the 90-inch model by Sharp will, for many retailers become a great point of comparison, helping to sell 60, 70 and 80-inch models! Sharp is pushing big sets into various markets around the world, and in the USA has the lion’s share of the big screen market. The reason they are pushing ultra-big screens is that thanks to the capacity of the “Green Front Sakai” factory near Osaka, Sharp is able to produce "very" big screens with exceptional efficiency (due to Generation 10 mother glass – creating Samsung Announces record operating profit of 6.72 trillion on consolidated revenues of 47.6 trillion won for Q2 Samsung Electronics Co., Ltd. has announced revenues of 47.60 trillion Korean won on a consolidated basis for the second quarter ended June 30, 2012, a 21-percent increase year-on-year. from being a real plus for the user. On the other hand, 3D and smart (Internet-based) functions are gaining traction, and are beginning to get serious attention from the buying public, however it is often difficult to demonstrate these key functions in a retail environment! economies of scale). Other manufacturers are going for bigger sizes as well. Notably, manufacturers who still produce large size plasma display panels, also have an advantage due to the fact that has traditionally been technically easier to produce a big plasma TV than a big LCD set. Differentiation through COLOUR The German brand LOEWE has come up with a new design idea with its Connect ID range, and its highly individual colour codes. But on top of that, Loewe also ensures its TVs can be easily mounted on the wall thanks to custom made wall mounts and racks – taking another thorn out of the buyer’s side when it comes to set-up. 20 Loewe’s Connect ID TV creates new interior design possibilities, and brings new added-value for specialist retailers.
Special Feature Audio for the home – and outdoors - riding the crest of a new wave Pioneer is making a major comeback in the CE market, as having “stopped the bleeding” in the TV business, they are now experiencing excellent sales of high-end network audio players, home hi-fi systems and “Steez” portable players. The Pioneer N-50 network player delivers better than CD quality sound anywhere ... anytime. Wireless home audio systems such as the new set by Sonos are picking up pace – fast! Trends from Japan One of the big trends this year is the evolution of audio products, that are surprising by their quality and inspiring by their design and marketing. According to Jürgen Boyny – Global Director Consumer Electronics, GfK Retail and Technology, one of the biggest trends in CE markets this year is the fact that consumers are becoming interested in listening to music again. “They want to listen to their music anywhere and anytime,” said Boyny at the recent IFA Global Press event in Dubrovnik. “So sales of headphones, in particular high quality models, are growing sharply.” Loewe’s European PR director, Dr. Roland Raithel, echoes that the Steez D10Z industry is experiencing a strong resurgence of sound – not only accompanying video – but also as stand-alone audio “We are heavily engaged in this new segment, because our retailers are reporting hugely successful sales in past weeks,” said Raithel. “Quality is improving not only from CDs, but also from the Internet, and the sound is really impressive with these new components.” “Music fans should not settle for good enough when it comes to listening to their favourite artists. They should not have to sacrifice the quality of the music for the sake of convenience that comes with digital music,” said Dinesh C. Paliwal, Chairman, President and CEO of Harman. Pioneer's long background in DJ technologies has been leveraged with the Steez line of audio products - aiming for a younger, outdoor audience. Successful company restructure: Sennheiser enjoys strong turnover and profit growth in 2011 Sennheiser electronic GmbH & Co. KG has announced its accounts for the financial year 2011. Compared to the previous year, the audio specialist achieved a strong increase in turnover and profit. With a growth rate of 13.5 percent, the group turnover increased significantly from 468.2 million Euros in 2010 to 531.4 million Euros. After-tax profits rose by 93 percent in the same period from 23.6 to 45.7 million Euros. Sales and Profits Soar for HARMAN Proof that the audio category is booming is that Harman’s net sales for the 2012 fiscal year were .4 billion; an increase of 16 percent compared to the prior year. In local currency, net sales increased by 17 percent. On a GAAP basis, operating profit increased by 58 percent to 0 million compared to 0 million in the prior year. Excluding restructuring expenses, annual operating profit was 0 million, an increase of 47 percent compared to 1 million in the prior year. Pioneer’s N-50 network player is at the heart of a new “audio push” by the Japanese giant. Diamond Tears by Monster – a ‘daring’ fashion statement! One for the ladies! Monster’s Diamond Tears headphones are fashion that is both seen and heard. They feature Monster’s proprietary audio engineering for a powerful personal listening experience. The Diamond Tears sound is, according to the makers, super detailed and accurate across all frequencies, so music sounds the way the original artist intended it to be heard. They also feature Monster’s ControlTalk Universal; with an integrated high-grade microphone and answer button that lets users listen to their music and answer phone calls without having to reach into their pocketbook, backpack or pocket. The ears have it ... headphones are now a fashion statement In the area of headphones, there is a current emergence of higher quality, over-ear, noisecancelling and wireless ranges. Following the massive success of Monster’s “Beats by Dr Dre”, a number of other brands have been following suit. The latest is “Sync by 50” – designed and conceived by the US rap artist 50 Cent, which will see their official European launch at IFA. Consumers are willing to pay a premium in order to be able to “ape” their idols. As these are becoming true “snob” items among younger consumers, the higher the price, the more “trendy” they are. For their part, Sennheiser are riding the wave in admirable fashion. Sennheiser’s RS 220 has been receiving rave reviews from specialist press, and this year was a ‘turning point’ for the high-end audio company. ! IFA International • Monday 27 th August 2012 21