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Losses in the CE Tech Retail Industry

You take the good, you take the bad. While the year 2022 saw lots of positives from an industry that took a big step back from the depths of the pandemic, things were far from perfect this year. The constant appears to be that even nearly three years after the start of the pandemic, things are still weird. Some of the losses we suffered this year include:  
Inflation and Fears of Recession 
There had been some hope that inflation would have returned to normal levels by the end of 2022, but despite occasional hints of things getting better, the Consumer Price Index remained high as of October, rising 8.2 percent year-over-year. This not only hit consumers in the wallet, but also greatly affected he earnings of top retailers, from Best Buy to Walmart to even Amazon.  

Sure, some consumer electronics items, like smartphones and TVs, have seen prices drop. But that’s more a function of how the Bureau of Labor Statistics measures the benchmarks, and it’s not enough to overcome overall inflation in other categories, some of it by double digits.  

The announcement that the economy grew by 2.6 percent in the third quarter appears to mean we’re not officially in recession territory quite yet. But various factors have brought brought on significant fears of a recession in 2023, especially with the Federal Reserve seemingly seeking to stave off inflation by possibly triggering one.  

The only economic certainty, it appears, is more uncertainty.  

Industry Revenue Declines 

The Consumer Technology Association, in what it called “a rare occasion in the history of this publication,” in July predicted a decline in industry revenue, to $503 billion in 2022, down 0.2 percent, with hardware revenues seen dropping 1.4 percent.  

“The new outlook for 2022 accounts for world events in the past six months that have put downward pressure on CTA’s original projections for the year. Major hardware categories such as laptops and TVs, which were expected to decline, are now seeing steeper drops than originally forecasted. Supply chain constraints, exacerbated by China’s zero-tolerance COVID lockdowns are aggravating shortages in smart appliances and vehicles.” 

Back in August, The NPD Group predicted that tech industry would see year over year revenue declines of 6 percent and 3 percent in 2022 and 2023, respectively, although both were seen remaining above the level of the pre-pandemic war of 2019.  

As for the holidays, fourth quarter revenue was also seen down against 2021, but up from 2019.  

“For the last two years consumers have relied on technology products to make their lives more comfortable and convenient while many worked, learned, and entertained mostly from home,” said Paul Gagnon, vice president, industry advisor for NPD. “Rather than waiting for promotions, or in some cases specific products, they bought what was available when they needed it. But as consumers return to more ‘normal’ behaviors and schedules we are seeing a shift back to pre-pandemic purchase patterns and believe consumers will once again be seeking out holiday deals this Q4.” 

Data Breaches Continue  

The year 2022 saw more data breaches, with Surfshark reporting that data breaches were 70 percent higher in the third quarter year-over-year, affecting 108.9 million accounts in the quarter.  

 Microsoft Security was hit by a hacker collective called Lapsus$ in the spring, with Uber reportedly hit by the same hacker group in September.  

Other breaches this year were reported everywhere from various crypto platforms to Cash App to the Christian crowdfunding site GiveSendGo to even the Red Cross. The top health insurer in Australia, Medibank Group, with some patient details compromised.  

In November, the FTC sued ed tech vendor Chegg after a series of four data breaches n five years, one of which was caused by a “senior executive” mistakenly clicking on a malicious email.  

Onkyo’s Parent Company Declares Bankruptcy  

Following the demise of Fry’s Electronics in 2021, there were no major electronics chains that went under this year (and Fry’s enjoyed a rebirth, albeit a fictitious one, in Jordan Peele’s movie Nope.)  

Back in May, the holding company of the longtime Japanese audio business Onkyo declared bankruptcy, although it has remained in business. Premium Audio Company (which is part of Voxx) and Sharp had teamed up the year before to buy Onkyo’s assets, as well as those of Integra.  

“Demand for Onkyo and Integra products has been very high and we expect this to intensify in the coming years,” Paul Jacobs, President and CEO of Premium Audio Company, said at the time of the announcement.  

“We have been working very closely with Sharp to ramp up production and have grown our business significantly since the acquisition was completed. We have big plans for Onkyo and the other brands sold through 11TC and as we build production and expand distribution, believe sales will more than double in the near-term. Rumors or any statements to the contrary about the Onkyo brand are simply unfounded and misleading.”