As sales of electronic products in United States grew from some $200 million in 1927 to over $266 billion in 1990, the electronics industry transformed factories, offices, and homes, emerging as a key economic sector that rivaled
the chemical, steel, and auto industries in size.
In the 1960's, the U.S. consumer electronics industry went into decline as
manufacturers were unable to compete with the quality and pricing of foreign
products, especially the electronics goods produced by Japanese companies such
as Sony and Hitachi. But in 1980's, however, U.S. manufacturers became the world
leaders in semiconductor development and assembly. And the 1990's semiconductors
were essential components of personal computers and most other electronic items
(including cellular telephones, televisions, medical equipment, and "Smart”
appliances). While U.S. companies are still a major presence in the
semiconductor industry (representing about 40 percent of world sales. in 1998),
the consumer items themselves are mostly made overseas. Worldwide electronics
sales were nearly $700 billion 1997.