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Consumers Less Likely To Buy Single-Function Electronics, While Plans To Purchase Multi-Function Devices Are On The Rise, Accenture Survey Finds

Consumers are less likely to buy single-function electronic products in the next year, while intentions to buy multi-function devices have increased dramatically, according to a new Accenture (NYSE: ACN) survey. Accenture summarizes these annual survey findings in its new 2013 Global Consumer Electronics Products and Services Usage Report released today.

Conducted in September 2012, the survey explored consumer usage and spending habits for 16 types of consumer electronic devices, 11 of which perform a single function and five that execute multiple functions. Consumers’ intentions to purchase single-function devices have fallen or remained flat compared with the prior year. For example, the percentage of survey respondents planning to buy BluRay DVD players fell slightly, from 11 percent to 10 percent, while purchase intentions for digital photo cameras, digital video cameras, and game consoles remained flat.

In sharp contrast, the percentage of respondents planning to buy multi-function devices in the next year increased significantly, from 16 percent a year ago to 36 percent for desktop and laptop PCs; from 27 percent to 41 percent for smartphones; from 20 percent to 33 percent for HDTVs; and from 16 percent to 23 percent for tablet computers.

“The consumer electronics market is now predominantly a four-horse race among multi-function devices--PCs, smartphones, tablets and HDTVs,” said Mattias Lewren, managing director for Accenture’s Electronics and High-Tech industry group. “This development amounts to a call to action for electronics manufacturers. They need to focus squarely on innovative devices with multiple applications, from browsing to media consumption to communications in various settings. Consumers want ‘do-it-all’ capabilities in various sizes and user experiences that fit their different lifestyle needs.”

Some bright spots for single-function electronics

While purchase intent for single-function devices is largely flat or declining, a few bright spots emerged, namely basic mobile phones, global positioning satellite (GPS) devices, health and fitness devices and, to a lesser extent, eBooks. The percentage of survey respondents intending to purchase these devices rose, albeit from a relatively small base: basic mobile phones (increased from 6 percent to 10 percent), GPS (from 9 percent to 11 percent), health and fitness devices (from 7 percent to 9 percent) and eBooks (from 8 percent to 9 percent). But the functionality of even these devices is increasingly being integrated into multi-function products such as smartphones.

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