New U.S. domestic sales numbers released Tuesday show Apple accounted for 19.9 percent of all consumer technology revenue in 2012. Apple and Samsung (9.3 percent of all US revenue) accounted for $6.5 billion in increased growth from 2011. Looking at the data, it appears much of that growth came at the cost of HP, Sony and Dell, a decline of $9.5 billion. While Apple and Samsung continue to grow in the consumer electronics market, the industry itself saw a 2 percent decrease in 2012 and a percent drop in 2011.

While we can discuss the value of using revenue, vs. marketshare vs. profits, regardless of what you want to base success on, revenue determines where consumers monies are being spent. Consumers are buying more Apple and Samsung products than ever.


Despite two years of losses, NPD’s Stephen Baker is optimistic the industry may have some good prospects with fourth quarter sales figures showing an uptick.


The category breakdown shows yearly declines in notebook, TV and desktop PC revenue with growth (albeit declining) in smartphones and tablet. Outside of workplace computing, consumer needs and preferences when it comes to computing have shifted significantly from desktop and notebook computing towards friendlier and more casual tablet and smartphone use. Even with sales remaining strong, those categories are bound to mature. Apple and Samsung can attribute their 2012 revenue increases in their popular iPhone/iPad and Galaxy phones/tablets product lines.

Interestingly enough, Apple is not a player in flat-panel TVs (yet). We’ve heard much about a fabled Apple TV/iTV that has been hinted at for years now. Will we see one in the next year? At CES 2013, Ultra HD TV sets were all the rage with their 4K, 8K resolution sets, but that really didn’t get folks interested in forking over $20,000-40,000 for a new unit. The TV industry has seen a period of declining prices and low demand for new sets, would Apple’s own take on the consumer electronics category jump-start the industry again?

The new data presents a lot of interesting potential scenarios. Here are a few


Apple, will release a new iPhone, iPad, iTV and it will sell a crazy amount. Historically, each iteration of any new iDevice outsells its previous version and we expect that trend to continue. If rumors of a cheaper iPhone, actually do pan out, it will be interesting to see how the market responds (More revenue? Less profit?). The NPD study did not take into account, content revenue, where Apple is king. Where Samsung doesn’t collect revenue from Google Play, Apple does from its own store. Apple has leverage in the ecosystem game where other hardware makers look clueless. Samsung has a great advantage in being able to piggyback on Android and even Microsoft’s growing ecosystem.


Samsung, seems pretty determined to be (excuse my pun) the next big thing. The company is investing a lot of cash, time and marketing at making the brand a household name. A household with Samsung refrigerator, tablet, laptop, phone, camera, the list goes on. While Samsung may not own the ecosystem outright, its done a remarkable job linking each device to each other. Expect Samsung’s Galaxy S IV to live up to every bit of its hype. And when Apple’s iTV does eventually hit the market, expect Samsung to deliver an equally impressive device (I’m not saying who’s copying who, I honestly don’t care). Where HP said, ‘no thanks we don’t want to fight in a marketplace,’ Samsung will, you’ve got to give them credit for trying.


First off, was it smart of HP (for HP’s sake) to essentially abandon it’s mobile presence (phone and tablet)? Samsung leapfrogged HP to move in to the second place position. Instead HP was left grasping at the diminishing personal computer category while missing the tablet boat when it was positioned to move upward. What’s next for HP?  So far it looks like it is back to tablets. Probably a larger presence in Microsoft Surface-like devices, at the expense of traditional PCs?


Is Sony prepping for a big push for the mobile market? We were very pleased with Xperia Z at CES 2013, could this phone hint at a concerted effort to make Sony more relevant in the mobile world? If 2013 is supposed to be a battle for the living room, of the remaining competitors Sony is the only other competitor (after Samsung and Apple) that could make a good effort across multiple platforms (e.g., TV, video, camera, gaming, mobile, computing, content).


Dell’s foray in phones and tablets didn’t pay off well, and instead seems to be in the losing column with the bulk of their systems competing in two very quickly diminishing industry categories. As Dell becomes a private firm, what can we expect to change?  Will Dell simply adjust its practices to market to a business crowd, where PC and notebook computing is still relevant, and move away from the “consumer” side of the business?

The top 5 tech categories are in different phases of market maturation, TVs, notebooks and desktop PCs are well into that phase, phones are nearing full maturation and tablets we’ll see a lot more focus in the next few years, until it too reaches a point of little or no growth. The consumer technology industry constantly faces a crossroads of competing on price or on innovation. As tech fans we hope for the industry to invest capital in long term research and development to bring about innovative products. Otherwise our posts and reviews are going to get really boring, real fast.