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Mobile devices to lead consumer electronics growth: report

A visitor plays with a tablet PC at the Intel booth during the Computex 2011 computer fair at the TWTC Nangang exhibition hall in Taipei
A visitor plays with a tablet PC at the Intel booth during the Computex 2011 computer fair at the TWTC Nangang exhibition hall in Taipei

NEW YORK (Reuters) - More customers than ever will buy tablet computers and smartphones this year, driving consumer electronics revenue to a record high of $190 billion in 2011, according to a new forecast from a leading industry trade group.

Sales of tablet computers such as Apple Inc's iPad and its rivals will reach 26.5 million units, resulting in $14 billion in revenue, the Consumer Electronics Association said in a report released on Monday.

Smartphone sales will increase by 45 percent to $23 billion, the study said.

"One year ago, tablets were a new and unproven market, and now they, along with other mobile connected devices including smartphones and e-readers, are leading the entire industry to positive growth," Steve Koenig, the group's director of industry analysis, said in a statement.

The consumer electronics industry will expand by 5.6 percent this year, ahead of the GDP growth rate in the United States of 2.4 percent. Shipment revenues for consumer electronics will also climb next year, to an all-time high of $197 billion.

Unit sales of e-readers, such as Amazon.com's Kindle, will double, bringing in $1.8 billion.

These mobile products are boosting revenue growth for the industry as other types of consumer electronics, such as flat-screen TVs, show declines, Koenig added.

The study found that 88 percent of U.S. households own at least one digital TV. Because of this high rate, sales of TVs are set to fall this year, with revenue of more than $18 billion.

TVs that are connected to the Internet are likely to be a growing area, with more than 10.4 million units shipping to stores this year. Despite the slow adoption of 3D, TVs that have that feature will ship 3.6 million units, up from 1.9 million units last year.

Apple will release its quarterly results on Tuesday, and sales numbers of the new, thinner iPad 2 will be in the spotlight. Wall Street estimates that Apple sold about 8 million new iPads in the quarter.

(Reporting by Liana B. Baker; Editing by Lisa Von Ahn)

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