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The Innovative Electronics Sector Guide

Vivien Christel Vella
Vivien Christel Vella
6 min read
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This article covers:
AI in electronics
Sustainability in consumer electronics
Tips for shipping electronics

Tech moves fast, so it’s no surprise that there are some exciting innovations forecast for the electronics sector this year. In this guide, we dive into the consumer electronics trends SMEs should be aware of to stay competitive, and the logistics insights and best practices that will help them keep up.

Consumer Electronics Industry Overview

Artificial Intelligence in Consumer Electronics

Almost every industry is being transformed by Artificial Intelligence, but arguably one of the most exciting areas of innovation is within the electronics sector.

The Internet of Things (IoT) is already facilitating so much of how we live, work and communicate with one another. Whilst IoT in consumer electronics – smart TVs, refrigerators, fitness trackers – is now “mainstream”, their capabilities are now being enhanced further by AI which can read their millions of data points to gain insights into users’ behaviors and create a new era of hyper-personalization. 

Imagine, for example, a coffee maker that syncs with your sleep tracker to automatically brew an extra-strong blend if you’ve had a bad night’s sleep, or a virtual assistant reading your health tracker’s statistics to create a personalized grocery list that addresses any dietary inefficiencies. With tech giants such as Amazon and Google adapting their product lineup to Matter, “an open-source standard that allows internet-connected devices from different manufacturers to communicate”1, the possibilities in this area are almost limitless.

The penetration rate of the smart home market worldwide is expected to grow from 19% in 2024 to 33% in 2028.

Source: Statista(2)

Perhaps even more personalized than home electronics is the wearable tech market – driven by consumers’ desire to track almost every aspect of their health and fitness. The wearable technology market size is estimated at US$186.48 billion in 2024 and is expected to reach US$493.26 billion by 2029 – a growth rate (CAGR) of 17.6%3. Some of the more advanced available this year include Withings’ handheld VitalScan, a first-of-its-kind connected health device that combines four medical tools – a stethoscope, an oximeter, a 1-lead ECG and a thermometer – allowing users to test themselves on the go and share the data with their doctor. 

Elsewhere, AI is powering a new generation of fun, virtual-reality gadgets, like gaming headsets and video glasses. The Apple Vision Pro spatial computing goggles run popular apps, including Camera, FaceTime and Safari, via a blend of both AR and VR that users can control with eye and hand tracking. Despite their hefty US$3500 price tag, 200,000 units were sold in the first 10 days after launch4.

Sony and Siemens recently unveiled a mixed reality headset for the industrial metaverse, designed to help engineering professionals produce and analyze 3D models of their designs and diagnose any issues before investing in real-world prototypes. Meanwhile, DHL Express has begun exploring smart glasses with embedded vision picking technology to speed up warehouse processes.

Consumer electronics sustainability

AI is playing an increasingly important role in transforming electronics’ manufacturing, too. 3D-printed electronics is a rapidly growing area – bringing products to market faster and enabling greater customization.

Yet perhaps one of the biggest emerging trends on the manufacturing side is the demand for sustainable processes. Earlier this year, at the Consumer Technology Association’s industry-leading annual tech convention, several businesses debuted new solar cell technology capable of powering consumer electronics, as an alternative to disposable batteries. Organic materials are also facilitating some of the change – those derived from microbial or plant matter – to create energy-efficient, biodegradable components.

The sustainable electronics manufacturing market is set to witness a phenomenal Compound Annual Growth Rate of 25% between 2023 and 2030, propelling the market value to an impressive US$150 billion by the end of the decade.(5)

Consumers are also playing their part in the sustainability movement, driving a surge in refurbished and used electronics. An industry report from Worldpanel ComTech6 highlighted that ownership volumes of refurbished smartphones have increased 70% in the two years to December 2023, and predicts that 14% of smartphones sold over the 2024 Christmas period will be refurbished/used (across the European five markets.) Global inflation and consumers’ shrinking budgets are boosting the second-hand market, too. In response, “retailers and manufacturers [will compete] to offer consumers greater value for their old devices to incentivise sales.”

As we move into 2024 and beyond, businesses within the electronics industry will seek to find a balance between the fast-paced product innovations needed to stay relevant, and a more considered, sustainable approach to manufacturing.

ELECTRONICS LOGISTICS

Shipping insights & best practices for SMEs

GO GREEN

How your business can “go green”

  • Talk to your suppliers to explore recyclable, biodegradable and renewable options for your components.
  • Prioritize rechargeable batteries for your products; they use 25% less greenhouse gases than single-use disposable batteries over their lifetime7
  • Include guidance on how your customers can responsibly dispose of the batteries after use to prevent the release of harmful metals into the environment.
  • Implement a reverse logistics strategy – this promotes the extending of your electronic products’ lifecycle via the “4 Rs”: recycling, repurposing, repairing and reselling. Integrating this into your devices’ warranty policies will divert them from landfill if they’re damaged or defective.
  • Utilize DHL’s GoGreen Plus, a dedicated solution which is helping businesses reduce the carbon emissions associated with their shipments through the use of Sustainable Aviation Fuel. This biofuel is specifically designed to be used as a substitute for traditional jet fuel and can reduce greenhouse gas emissions by up to 80% compared to fossil fuels.  

 

PACKAGING & SHIPPING

If your business ships products containing batteries internationally, there are some important regulations you will need to comply with to ensure they arrive there safely and without delay.

Tips for shipping electronics

  • Shipping regulations for batteries will depend on factors such as the type of battery, how they're packed (loose or within a device), and the destination country's specific customs regulations.
  • Due to their hazardous nature, parcels containing batteries must be packaged carefully. Our advice on shipping batteries varies depending on the type of battery being shipped, so make sure you’re following the correct procedure.
  • Shipping damaged or faulty batteries can be extremely dangerous, due to the risk of fire. For this reason, any battery that is suspected or known to be defective (swelling, corroding or leaking, for example) is not permitted for shipping within the DHL Express network.
  • Paperwork certifying compliance with the regulations must be included with your shipment. Customers with a MyDHL+ account will be guided through the necessary documentation required for their shipment depending on its contents, origin country and destination country.

 

HOW DHL EXPRESS CAN HELP

DHL Express has all the tools to help your SME ship to customers seamlessly, wherever in the world they may be:

  • MyGTS (My Global Trade Services) is a free, user-friendly platform that will help you navigate all aspects of international shipping regulations. Access accurate HS Codes for your shipment(s), calculate Landed Cost for goods in any country, and receive guidance on import restrictions before you ship.
  • DHL Express Commerce. Integrating with a large range of e-commerce platforms – including Shopify – this tool manages every step of your fulfilment process, from order importing to shipping, leaving you with more time to work on your business.
  • Dynamic Discounting. A competitive pricing program that rewards you with increasing discounts as your shipping volume grows, so the more you ship, the more you save. For in-depth cost estimates, speak to a DHL expert.

Want more help?

Want more help?

Open a DHL Express Business Account today

The electronics sector moves fast – you need a logistics partner who can keep up! With a DHL Express Business Account, you’ll have support from the experts as you navigate all aspects of international shipping.

Open an account