Will Innovative, New Electronics Revive Economy?
What's needed, aside from innovation, to revive economy?
Whether connected everywhere and 3D everywhere will save the economy is still unresolved, however. Innovation alone won’t do it, say some.
“If people don’t have money to buy things, how can consumer electronics save the economy?,” questions Marjorie Costello, Editor of CE Online News. “It is not a job creator. How many jobs can Best Buy create? Consumer electronics are just a monitor of what is going on in the country.”
The economic downturn that began in 2008 hurt the consumer electronics industry, but the recovery say the experts won’t happen just in America, and not just because of innovative products.
“The economy needs to revive, job creation has to revive, and people need to feel good about their jobs,” says Smith.
“Can innovation help the economy? Sure it can. It is an international industry as much as it is an American industry. The CE industry—and by that I include Silicon Valley, as well as Japan and Korea—is a very viable industry. But it isn’t the car business, yet if it does its part and we straighten out the debt issue, and change some regulations, maybe the whole economy can get a bit better.”
Smith agrees with Baker that this is a transition period, and those have tended to happen during eras of booming economies, and often overcoming lack of consumer confidence, as well. While he says that the current transition won’t be as big as the 1998 to 2001 era, when there was a switch from analog devices such as VCRs to DVD, it could result in new categories being created that weren’t even previously considered. A decade ago MP3 and digital music, which eventually spawned the iPod, was a category no one saw coming.
“We’ll see similar up and coming categories again,” says Smith. “This isn’t just hype from the industry either. The established players are looking at major categories. What we’re seeing might not be revolutionary but it is evolutionary at least.”
This of course makes it hard to predict what we’ll actually see next, but given the yearly hype, it might live up to Shaprio’s claim, “2011 will blow people’s socks off.”
Look for CNBC's in-depth coverage of CES 2011 online and on-air. Julia Boorstinwill report from the show beginning Wednesday, January 5 and Maria Bartiromo will anchor "Closing Bell" from CES on Thursday and Friday, January 6 and 7, 3-5pm ET.