As part of the Canadian electronics industry, the sub-sector of consumer electronics (CEL) plays an important role in the Canadian entertainment market (most significantly the portable audio, video and gaming niches.) Other Canadian industries such as medical, aerospace and defense, Information Communication Technology (ICT), automotive, and home appliances, also benefit from this evolving technological industry.
North American production of consumer electronics for the entertainment market reached $324 billion in 2007, followed by an estimated 3.6 percent increase in 2008 or $335 billion, and a projected 4.6 percent increase in 2009. Canada's production represented approximately 2.2 percent of North America's total output. Canada's consumer electronics contribution to the Canadian electronics industry is complex to measure due to the industry's fragmentation. Conference Board of Canada estimates the industry reported a $7.7 billion trade deficit in 2007.
The Canadian consumer electronics sub-sector is comprised almost entirely of imported products mainly coming from Asian-Pacific countries (accounting for 83.4 percent of the global consumer electronics production), and the United States. Although Canada has been recognized as a key contributor to the consumer electronics industry with the creation of the BlackBerry, Canada is not a key player in this market. Much of Canada's high-volume, low-cost production takes place at low cost country (LCC) locations.
As part of the entertainment sector, there is increased demand for game console-operated devices, a group that it is forecasted to expand in Canada at a 5.4 percent annual rate, from US$425 million in 2006 to US$554 million in 2011. Products such as HD and Blue Ray DVD equipment, digital video recorders and hard disk drives (HDDs) have also experienced significant growth driven by the increased demand in high definition televisions. Products offering minimal radiation exposure (especially present in flat panel displays, mobile handsets and optical drives) represent a growing market niche for U.S. manufactures. Mobile devices such as cell phones, Bluetooth, cameras, and GPS will see an increased need for enhanced high-performance flash memory, Digital Signal Processing (DSP) circuits, metal film chip resistors (RG chips), and image-sensing devices.
Strong growth is also expected in the automotive electronics, not because of the number of cars produced, but rather due to the increased demand by consumers for vehicles providing navigation, information and entertainment features.
In the audio visual equipment market, there are ongoing requirements for enhanced conferencing technology, digital signal processing, integrated conferencing hardware, high definition streaming media and webcasting equipment, wireless applications, as well as 2K DCI compliant DLP projectors, mostly used in movie theatres.
There are growing requirements in the game, mobile and film market for semiconductor parts (which constitute approximately 29 percent of the final device) as companies aim to deliver theatre-quality sound and graphics by using high-performance microprocessors, graphics processors and large amounts of the highest-performance memory available.
Opportunities and Market Awareness
U.S. producers of electronics should be familiar with Bill C-52, a recently introduced legislation to regulate the safety of consumer products in Canada. Current legislation, presently under review, prohibits the manufacturing, importing, and selling of certain consumer products that do not meet prescribed requirements, affect human health or safety, or are the subject of a recall order, voluntary recall, or mandatory order not yet carried out.
On October 28, 2008 the Ontario provincial government introduced Bill 118 Countering Distracted Driving and Promoting Green Transportation Act. This bill proposes a ban on the use of hand-held devices to talk, text, or email while driving, therefore creating opportunities for U.S. producers of Bluetooth and/or hands-free devices. Similar laws are already in place in the Canadian provinces of Quebec, Nova Scotia, and Newfoundland and Labrador.
Introduced by the Province of Nova Scotia February 1, 2008, and monitored by the Atlantic Canada Electronics Stewardship Association (ACES), companies selling "designated" electronic products in the province are legally required to participate in a product management program to recycle unwanted electronic products that have exhausted their lifetime. Designated products are televisions, desktop, laptop and notebook computers, computer monitors, and computer printers. Computer scanners, audio and video playback and recording systems, telephones and fax machines, cell phones and other wireless devices will be added to this program by February 1, 2009.