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Consumer electronics sales jump in '04

TVs, MP3s and even PCs all saw gains in 2004, says a CEA report. The coming year should see an equally large lift.

Shoppers' appetites for big-screen televisions and gadgets such as portable MP3 players helped boost sales of consumer electronics by 11 percent in 2004 and should lead to an equally large bump in 2005, a new report by the Consumer Electronics Association says.

In a report released Tuesday at the annual in Las Vegas, the CEA says its preliminary estimates show that consumer electronics revenue increased to $113.5 billion in 2004. That marks a higher-than-expected 11 percent jump from 2003.

The increases came from a broad range of products, including televisions and personal computers, whose revenue grew 10 percent to $17.2 billion in 2004. Newer categories, including digital televisions and memory cards, saw the biggest increases. Sales of digital televisions, which include LCD and plasma screen models, increased by 78 percent from 2003 to $10.7 billion, the CEA report said.

"American consumers love consumer electronics products," Gary Shapiro, president and CEO of the CEA, said in a statement. "That passion is reflected in the continued sales growth of our industry."

Portable MP3 players were also among 2004's big gainers. MP3 players' 2004 sales nearly tripled from 2003, reaching $1.2 billion. Memory card revenue increased by more than 200 percent to $3 billion.

High demand for products such as TVs and MP3 players bodes well for 2005. The CEA forecasts that demand will drive sales up another 11 percent in 2005 to $125.7 billion.

Indeed, products such as memory cards, MP3 players and televisions are expected to see more large gains in 2005. Memory card revenue could double in 2005 to reach nearly $6 billion, the CEA predicts. Meanwhile, wireless phones could reach a new high of $11.3 billion in 2005, the report said.

Even PCs are expected to continue to chug along, although at much slower growth rates than other CE products. The CEA predicts that PC revenue will rise slightly in 2005, surpassing $18 billion.