Diversification May Be the Optimal Path Forward in the Consumer Electronics Industry
In 2010, consumers globally spent $2 trillion on digital information and entertainment products and services, and this will increase to $2.8 trillion by 2015, according to Gartner, Inc. Worldwide consumer spending on digital information and entertainment products and services is projected to reach $2.1 trillion in 2011.
The trend among vendors to offer a diversified portfolio of products and/or services puts them in a better position to seize a larger share of the consumer wallet. Gartner defines consumer wallet spending as the money spent by consumers for digital technology devices and services that are for accessing, consuming and creating content. This wallet is divided into three basic spending types — content, devices and services.
"While a vendor can be a leader in specializing within just one segment of the consumer wallet, there are a mounting number of examples that suggest diversification may be the optimal path forward in the consumer electronics industry," said Amanda Sabia, principal research analyst at Gartner. "Vendors that diversify their offerings across multiple consumer spending segments earn revenue across the full ecosystem and take legacy services to transform to newer products and services."
Of the $2 trillion consumers spent globally in 2010 on digital information and entertainment products and services, the largest spending segment (62 percent) was for communications subscription-based access and usage services. The $1.2 trillion included mobile and wired voice services; mobile data services, such as SMS/TXT and broadband; fixed broadband services; video services, such as subscriptions to pay TV; and online gaming.
The second-largest spending segment (28 percent) was for devices. The $600 billion is made up of consumer electronic devices, such as mobile/handheld devices, PCs and related devices, and stationary entertainment equipment, such as television sets and game consoles.
The smallest spending segment (10 percent) was for content and software for a total of $200 billion. Video content that has been purchased/rented/streamed/downloaded, as well as premium channel/pay per view (PPV)/video on demand (VOD), and that portion of pay TV subscriptions allocated to licensing fees made up half of this segment, while the other half was for PC and gaming software, digital music and books, and purchases from mobile apps stores.
"There are two basic strategies that vendors have used to capture consumer spending that will enable their interconnected consumer experience," said Mikako Kitagawa, principal research analyst at Gartner. "The first is to concentrate in one consumer spending segment, and the second is to diversify into other consumer spending segments."
"The challenge to vendors choosing to be hyperfocused on one wallet spending segment is the relentless pursuit of innovation required to maintain segment sales leadership in this one specific segment," Ms. Kitagawa said. "There are two ways to achieve leadership in this instance: by diversifying the portfolio suite of offerings and by expanding the target audience or usage model of the products and services."
Vendors choosing to diversify into other consumer spending segments can benefit from the fact that consumers are increasingly using alternative services that will move their spending from one segment to the other, such as fixed voice to mobile voice; fixed broadband to mobile broadband; physical content, such as CDs, DVDs and books to online/digital versions; and linear broadcast TV to over the top (OTT) video. All of these alternative services provide business opportunities that would replace or would be in addition to legacy products and services, thus enabling a vendor to pursue the consumers' spending in more than one segment.
"Technology innovation opens windows of opportunity for vendors to consider diversification," said Ms. Kitagawa. "However, technology innovation also opens a window for change among consumers to switch vendors in the pursuit of cost savings or lifestyle-changing technology."
"The three key technology areas that will offer the best opportunity for vendors during the next three years are: wireless broadband, which will enable constant connectivity; location-based services (LBS), which will personalize and take advantage of the constant connected state; and operating systems, which are the foundation for integration applications that can bring it all together."
Additional information is available in the Gartner report "Market Trends: Diversification Trends Capture More of Consumer Technology Spending." The report presents what products and services make up the consumer wallet, and a high-level analysis of the varying strategies to capture that spending within and among the various segments. The report is available on Gartner's website at http://www.gartner.com/resId=1717114.
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