Consumer electronics

A crowd of shoppers in the flatscreen TV section of the big box consumer electronics store Best Buy

Consumer electronics or home electronics are electronic (analog or digital) equipment intended for everyday use, typically in private homes. Consumer electronics include devices used for entertainment, communications and recreation. Usually referred to as black goods due to many products being housed in black or dark casings. This term is used to distinguish them from "white goods" which are meant for housekeeping tasks, such as washing machines and refrigerators, although nowadays, these would be considered black goods, some of these being connected to the Internet.[1][2] In British English, they are often called brown goods by producers and sellers.[3][n 1] In the 2010s, this distinction is absent in large big box consumer electronics stores, which sell entertainment, communication and home office devices, light fixtures and appliances, including the bathroom type.

Radio broadcasting in the early 20th century brought the first major consumer product, the broadcast receiver. Later products included telephones, televisions, and calculators, then audio and video recorders and players, game consoles, mobile phones, personal computers and MP3 players. In the 2010s, consumer electronics stores often sell GPS, automotive electronics (car stereos), video game consoles, electronic musical instruments (e.g., synthesizer keyboards), karaoke machines, digital cameras, and video players (VCRs in the 1980s and 1990s, followed by DVD players and Blu-ray players). Stores also sell smart light fixtures and appliances, digital cameras, camcorders, cell phones, and smartphones. Some of the newer products sold include virtual reality head-mounted display goggles, smart home devices that connect home devices to the Internet, streaming devices, and wearable technology.

In the 2010s, most consumer electronics have become based on digital technologies. They have essentially merged with the computer industry in what is increasingly referred to as the consumerization of information technology. Some consumer electronics stores have also begun selling office and baby furniture. Consumer electronics stores may be "brick and mortar" physical retail stores, online stores, or combinations of both.

Annual consumer electronics sales are expected to reach $2.9 trillion by 2020.[5] It is part of the wider electronics industry. In turn, the driving force behind the electronics industry is the semiconductor industry.[6] The basic building block of modern electronics is the MOSFET (metal-oxide-silicon field-effect transistor, or MOS transistor),[7][8] the scaling and miniaturization of which has been the primary factor behind the rapid exponential growth of electronic technology since the 1960s.[9]

  1. ^ Hsu, Sara (12 February 2016). "In China, Black Goods Down, White Goods Up". The Diplomat. Archived from the original on 12 February 2016. Retrieved 12 July 2021.
  2. ^ Takagi, Yuichiro; Hanada, Yukinori; Iwato, Hisashi (8 January 2020). "White appliance prices jump in Japan over past 10 years". Nikkei Asia. Archived from the original on 8 January 2020. Retrieved 12 July 2021.
  3. ^ "brown goods". Collins English Dictionary. Archived from the original on 8 December 2014. Retrieved 5 December 2014.
  4. ^ McDermott, Catherine (30 October 2007). Design: The Key Concepts. Routledge. p. 234. ISBN 9781134361809. Archived from the original on 18 April 2016. Retrieved 5 December 2014.
  5. ^ "Global Consumer Electronics Market to Reach US$ 2.9 Trillion by 2020 - Persistence Market Research". PR Newswire. Persistence Market Research. 3 January 2017. Retrieved 11 October 2019.
  6. ^ "Annual Semiconductor Sales Increase 21.6 Percent, Top $400 Billion for First Time". Semiconductor Industry Association. 5 February 2018. Retrieved 11 October 2019.
  7. ^ Cite error: The named reference computerhistory was invoked but never defined (see the help page).
  8. ^ Cite error: The named reference computerhistory-transistor was invoked but never defined (see the help page).
  9. ^ Lamba, V.; Engles, D.; Malik, S. S.; Verma, M. (2009). "Quantum transport in silicon double-gate MOSFET". 2009 2nd International Workshop on Electron Devices and Semiconductor Technology: 1–4. doi:10.1109/EDST.2009.5166116. ISBN 978-1-4244-3831-0. S2CID 10377971.


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