US 2019 Consumer Technology Forecast

January 11, 2019

This article is included in these additional categories:

Connected Device Comparisons | Digital | Industries | Mobile Phone | Non-mobile Connected Devices | Tablet | Technology

As CES wraps up another annual visit to sunny Las Vegas, the Consumer Technology Association (CTA) has forecasted [press release] a strong year ahead for the US consumer technology industry. Artificial intelligence and high-speed connectivity are contributing factors to CTA’s prediction of 3.9% annual growth within the industry, with retail sales expected to hit $398 billion in 2019.

This year-over-year growth includes music and video streaming services revenue, which is projected to be 25% higher than last year. With wider availability and a growing library of premium content, video streaming services will see a 27% leap in revenue from 2018, while online music streaming services like Spotify and Pandora will lift music streaming revenue to $7.7 billion.

The following covers some highlights from CTA’s predictions.

Emerging Consumer Tech

Unit Sales and Growth

Smart Speakers like the Amazon Echo and Google Home are the leader in unit sales for the tracked emerging technologies, with an expected 36.6 million unit sales this year. But there are indications that sales of Smart Speakers are slowing down, with only 5% unit sales growth expected, which is attributed to voice integration becoming available in other technologies. Nonetheless, these devices are poised to make an impact across various industries, from retail to radio.

Smart Home technology is expected to see 29.4 million units sold this year, representing an expected increase of 23% from last year. This is being driven by consumers embracing products that monitor home safety and comfort, including devices such as smart locks, smart smoke and carbon monoxide units, IP/wifi cameras and smart switches.

Now that the headphone jack has been thoroughly eliminated from the iPhone, wireless earbuds are predicted to experience outstanding growth in 2019. If predictions are correct, wireless earbuds will sell close to 16 million units, meaning 44% growth year-over-year.

Smartwatches are also still on the rise, with a predicted 20.5 million to sell in 2019. And despite the potential for increased legislation, drones may see a 4% increase in units sales growth with an expected 3.4 million to be sold.

Revenue Growth

2019 is showing no clear front-runner in any of the emerging technology categories contained in the press release. Of the tracked markets, Smartwatches have a slight lead with an expected $4.7 billion in revenue, which would represent a 19% increase from 2018.

The Smart Home market is close behind with CTA predicting $4.6 billion in revenue, a 17% increase.

Still considered a category to watch, Smart Speakers are predicted to earn $3.2 billion in revenue with year-over-year growth of 7%.

Just like with unit sales growth, Wireless Earbuds are predicted to see serious revenue growth in the coming year. Wireless Earbuds are expected to make about $2 billion in revenue. This translates into 46% growth from 2018.

The revenue predictions are not quite as hopeful for drones. This category is expected to earn about $1 billion in revenue, representing only a 4% increase in revenue growth.

Maturing Tech Markets

Smartphone unit sales are certainly maturing: they’re expected to sell 170.7 million units this year, a 1% increase. Revenue will increase by 2% with total revenues reaching $80 billion, per CTA’s projections. 5G smartphone models are set for release in 2019 and CTA predicts US unit sales to reach 2.1 million and create more than $1 billion in revenue.

Laptop sales could reach 51 million units (up 3% from 2018) with revenues unchanged at $28.4 billion.

At the same time, overall unit sales of TVs are predicted to go down by 1% and produce $22.6 billion in revenue (an increase of 2%). However, 4K Ultra High Definition (UHD) televisions will continue to drive TV sales. CTA also predicts favorable unit sales and revenue from emerging TV technologies like 8K UHD and OLED.

Last year, the CTA noted that for the first time the three most-owned devices in US households were screen devices: TVs; smartphones; and laptops.

The forecast data can be accessed here.

About the Data: Published twice a year, CTA’s US Consumer Technology Sales and Forecasts reports on US factory sales to dealers. The forecast utilizes input from nearly 50 companies across the consumer technologies industry.

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