Though slight growth was expected at the beginning of this year, Japan's electronics industry will follow up last year's contraction with further sales declines this year, according to estimates by the Japan Electronics and Information Technology Industries Association (JEITA).
Last year's 17.5 percent decline in total production, measured on a value basis, will be followed by an 8.5 percent decline this year, to about $160 billion, the lowest annual figure since 1990, JEITA said.
Sales for the industry's consumer electronics sector this year will remain level with last year due to such bright spots as color TVs, digital still cameras and car navigation systems. But sales for the industrial electronics sector, which includes computers, office equipment and measurement equipment, will drop to 84 percent of the previous year's level, and electronic component sales will drop by 8.5 percent, JEITA said.
JEITA attributed the declines to Japan's sluggish economy. Cautious capital investment by the private sector and flat consumer spending are creating an uncertain outlook for the economy, though JEITA is projecting slight 3.6 percent growth for 2003. One consumer electronics category, imaging equipment, is expected to work as a tractor for the electronic components sector in 2003.
Total production of 20 trillion yen, or about $166 billion, is forecast for 2003. That's the second-lowest annual figure of the last 10 years, JEITA said.