Electronic equipment, gadgets, devices, and appliances utilized by individuals in their daily lives are consumer electronics. They’re not meant to be used for profit. (However, they are free to be used commercially.) Audio and video systems, televisions, computers, laptops, digital cameras, DVD players, home and kitchen appliances, GPS, mobile phones, and so on are examples of such products.
- 1 What Are Consumer Electronics?
- 2 Trends In Consumer Electronics
- 3 Consumer Electronics Industry and Market
- 4 How Consumer Electronics Are Becoming More Sustainable
- 5 Conclusion
What Are Consumer Electronics?
Electronic (analog or digital) equipment designed for everyday use, usually in private homes, is known as consumer electronics or home electronics. Consumer electronics refers to equipment utilized for entertainment, communication, or amusement. Many objects are contained in black or dark casings; therefore, they’re commonly referred to as black goods.
This word is used to separate them from “white goods,” such as washing machines and freezers, which are used for household activities but are increasingly considered black goods, with some of these being connected to the Internet. Producers and dealers refer to them as brown items in British English. This difference is no longer made in huge big-box consumer electronics stores, which sell entertainment, communication, home office gadgets, and kitchen appliances like refrigerators, the 2010s.
In the early twentieth century, radio transmission introduced the first important consumer product, the broadcast receiver.
Telephones, televisions, and calculators were later goods, followed by audio and video recorders and players, gaming personal computers, consoles, mobile phones, and MP3 players. GPS, automobile electronics (car stereos), video game consoles, electronic musical instruments (e.g., synthesizer keyboards), karaoke machines, digital cameras, and video players were all popular in the 2010s.
Also available are smart appliances, digital cameras, camcorders, cell phones, and smartphones. The most recent goods marketed include virtual reality head-mounted display goggles, smart home gadgets that connect domestic things to the Internet, and wearable technologies.
Most consumer electronics of the 2010s were based on digital technologies, and the computer industry mainly fused with it in what is now known as the consumerization of information technology. Office and infant furnishings are now being sold in certain consumer electronics retailers. Consumer electronics stores can be real retail stores, internet stores, or a combination of the two.
Consumer electronics sales are expected to surpass $2.9 trillion by 2020. It belongs to the electronics industry as a whole. The semiconductor sector, in turn, is the driving force behind the electronics industry. Modern electronics rely heavily on MOSFETs (metal-oxide-silicon field-effect transistors, or MOS transistors). The scaling and shrinking have been the fundamental driver of electronic technology’s remarkable exponential growth since the 1960s.
Trends In Consumer Electronics
The tendency of ever-falling pricing is one of the most prominent characteristics of consumer electronic items. Gains in manufacturing efficiency and automation, decreased labor costs as manufacturing has shifted to lower-wage countries, and advances in semiconductor design have all contributed to this. Semiconductor components benefit from Moore’s law, which claims that semiconductor capability doubles every two years for a given price.
While the convergence of consumer electronics grows, merging elements of various items, consumers must make diverse judgments when purchasing. It is becoming increasingly important to keep product information current and comparable so that consumers can make informed decisions. Style, cost, specifications, and performance are all important considerations. E-commerce web storefronts are becoming more popular.
Many goods come equipped with Internet connectivity via Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, EDGE, or Ethernet. Products that were not previously connected with computer use (such as televisions or audio equipment) now can link to the Internet or to a computer via a home network to enable access to digital material. The need for high-definition (HD) content has prompted the development of several technologies, such as WirelessHD and ITU-T G.hn, that are optimized for HD video distribution between consumer electronic devices in the house.
The electronics business, particularly consumer electronics, began in the twentieth century and has since grown to become a multibillion-dollar global sector. Electronic gadgets are built into automated or semi-automated facilities operated by industry in today’s society.
Because of maintenance costs, materials, quality, and speed, most consumer electronics are built in China rather than in other countries such as the United States. Cities like Shenzhen have become significant manufacturing hubs for the sector, drawing consumer electronics giants like Apple Inc.
An electronic component is a fundamental discrete device or physical item in an electronic system that impacts electrons or their related fields. Electrical elements, which are conceptual abstractions describing idealized electronic components, are not to be confused with electronic components, typically industrial goods accessible in a single form.
Software is used in consumer gadgets such as personal computers. Some consumer electronics, such as mobile phones, contain embedded software. This form of software could be incorporated into the electronic device hardware. Software for use on a personal computer in conjunction with electronic devices, such as camcorders and digital cameras, is included in some consumer electronics, and third-party software for such devices is also available.
Greenpeace USA produced a study in 2017 on the energy and resource use and chemical use of 17 of the world’s biggest consumer electronics businesses.
Rare Metals And Rare Earth Elements
Thousands of rare metals and rare earth elements are used in electronic gadgets (on average, 40 for a smartphone). These materials are mined and purified using water and energy-intensive procedures. Because these metals are also used in the renewable energy industry, consumer electronics fight for the same raw materials.
Consumer electronics’ energy usage and environmental effect rapidly increase, whether from manufacturing processes or gadget disposal. According to the EIA, electronic devices and gadgets account for around 10%–15% of energy demand in American homes, owing to their sheer number; the average home includes dozens of electronic devices.
If consumer electronics are broadened to include home appliances such as refrigerators, dryers, laundry washers, and dishwashers, the energy consumption of consumer electronics will rise to almost 50% of household consumption in America and Europe.
When bodies are forced into unhealthy and unpleasant positions to see the screen better, desktop monitors and laptops cause substantial physical health risks for humans. Repetitive strain injuries, also known as neck and back discomfort, result from this. People who use devices before going to bed have a harder time falling asleep, which has a negative impact on their health.
Sleep deprivation stops people from reaching their full physical and mental potential and “raise rates of obesity and diabetes,” which have “long-term health effects.” Because students and youth are the ones who use gadgets the most, obesity and diabetes are more widespread among them. “De Quervain syndrome, which affects the tendons in the hands, can develop in those who frequently use their thumbs to write text messages on cell phones. The most well-known condition in this category is carpal tunnel syndrome, which is caused by strain on the wrist’s median nerve.”
Consumer Electronics Industry and Market
Between 2011 and 2014, the global consumer electronics industry and the market had a minor setback. However, following 2014, the sector began to expand due to increased demand from densely populated countries like China and India. Demand in Europe has also greatly improved.
The business has a bright future because of a recovering and expanding economy in some nations and the introduction of new products with cutting-edge technology. Increased demand for the latest smartphones and wireless communication technology advancements such as 3G, 4G, and 5G is also good.
People also want to replace their old electrical items with new ones that are more technologically advanced. People who use 2G feature phones, for example, are purchasing 3G and 4G smartphones. People who previously used 4G are now buying 5G cellphones. LCD and LED TVs, as well as Smart TVs, are gradually replacing traditional flat-panel televisions. These things will contribute to the industry’s full demand and expansion.
How Consumer Electronics Are Becoming More Sustainable
Individuals, governments, and industries are all focusing on sustainability. It has joined the ranks of traditional market drivers such as safety, performance, and price in influencing customer purchasing decisions.
We’ve learned to rely on a wide range of consumer electronic devices, yet this reliance has a cost. We currently consume 1.75 planets’ worth of resources, which is expected to climb to two planets by 2030. This is more than the world can replenish, and deforestation and some mining operations exacerbate the situation. There are issues linked with increased energy use, higher greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, a lack of effective recycling, and resource utilization.
According to the UN, people produce 50 million tonnes of electrical and electronic (EE) waste each year, with the problem anticipated to grow to 120 million tonnes by 2050. However, only 20% of this is formally recycled at the moment. This is a chance squandered. The annual value of e-waste is USD 62.5 billion, greater than certain countries’ GDP. One tonne of cell phones is estimated to contain the same amount of gold as 70 tonnes of gold ore, implying that up to 7% of the planet’s gold is lost in e-waste.
Energy use also raises environmental concerns. In recent decades, residential energy use in the United States has consistently increased, accounting for 22 percent of overall energy use, even though increased insulation and more energy-efficient appliances have reduced average household energy consumption.
Two things influence these values. To begin with, the number of households in the United States has risen considerably in the last four decades, from 80 million in 1980 to 128 million in 2020. Second, we now have many devices in each area, including our pockets. These require electricity, which increases GHG emissions during production. Consumer electronics manufacturers are reacting in a variety of ways.
Recycling decreases the requirement for new resource extraction. Many materials used in consumer electronics and their packaging are recyclable. Some computer manufacturers, for example, use recycled components in their products, such as plastic resins.
Some markets are also launching measures to promote greener e-waste solutions. The European Union (EU), for example, has established directives on waste electrical and electronic equipment (WEEE), energy-related products (ERP), and ecodesign.
Contamination is a concern with the usage of recycled materials in goods. This may impact safety and performance in some cases, so all recycled materials must be properly evaluated before use.
Recycling and increased use of recycled materials are just two components of the ultimate sustainability aim, a fully circular economy in which resources are transformed into goods and then utilized, reused, and recycled several times. Reduced obsolescence and the ability to fix rather than replace a product are essential aspects.
With the passage of its Anti-Waste for a Circular Economy Act in 2020, France took the lead (AGEC). This act includes rules requiring companies to provide information on spare parts availability, the necessity to employ parts from a circular economy, and repair time frames. Built-in obsolescence techniques, including software, are prohibited, and vendors must display a product’s reparability score.
These standards will extend the useful life, resulting in less waste overall. According to a recent poll, they also meet consumer demand, with 77 percent of Europeans preferring to fix rather than replace an EE device. As a result, it is reasonable to believe this is a global trend.
Energy consumption is one area where EE makers are making significant progress. Nonetheless, with the rising use of consumer electronics in our daily lives, a greater emphasis on decreasing GHG emissions via reducing energy use is required.
In the United States, for example, the ENERGY STAR program employs energy efficiency rating systems to help consumers choose better products. When the previous system became obsolete in January 2019, the EU had to introduce a new energy labeling system, highlighting the value of these initiatives in driving the industry to create more efficient products.
Consumer electronics makers have made significant progress in lowering energy use and greenhouse gas emissions. Leading electronics businesses have demonstrated 70 percent improved product efficiency compared to ten years ago, the use of entirely renewable energy at facilities, and a 466,000-ton decrease in GHG emissions.
Being more environmentally conscious also means using less packaging. According to estimates, the average European produces 174 kg of packing waste per year. Because of the fragility of some electronic items and their high value, some consumer electronics have excessive packaging.
Many firms are increasingly tackling this issue by employing more sustainable materials, such as recycled, bio-based, or biodegradable alternatives to virgin materials.
Consumer electronics (CE) refers to any electronic device intended for end-users or consumers to buy and use regularly for non-commercial or professional purposes. Consumer electronics are the most widely utilized electronic, computing, and communication gadgets.
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