US 2018 Consumer Technology Sales Forecast

January 10, 2018

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

With CES in full swing, what better time to take a look at the Consumer Technology Association’s forecast for tech industry revenues this year? All told, tech’s retail revenues should hit $351 billion, per the forecast, buoyed by the inclusion of streaming services and rapid growth projected for Smart Speakers.

The projection for consumer spending on music and video streaming services – CTA’s first – calls for $19.5 billion in revenues, up 35% year-over-year. Without including streaming services, the consumer tech industry’s revenue would grow by 2.2% (as opposed to 3.9%) this year.

As part of its predictions, The Consumer Technology Association (CTA) released unit and sales growth projections for several emerging technologies. The forecast envisions strong growth in unit sales of Smart Speakers, bleeding over into Smart Home devices.

The following lists some highlights from CTA’s projections.

Emerging Consumer Tech

Unit Sales

Of the 6 emerging technologies examined, the Wearables market is the most mature, with an expected 49.3 million in unit sales this year.

The Smart Speaker market has surged as the next-largest after experiencing a massive 279% increase in unit sales last year. The CTA now predicts that consumers will buy 43.6 million Smart Speakers this year, edging Smart Home devices in unit sales (40.8 million).

Meanwhile, some 22 million 4K UHD TVs are expected to ship this year, while Virtual Reality (VR) devices (4.9 million) and Drones (3.7 million) represent a more nascent market.

Readers interested in Smart Speakers can also check out these recent articles:

Unit Sales Growth

The wearables market – the largest of those tracked – is projected to again see comparatively slow growth this year, with just a 4% increase in unit sales (down from 9% in the CTA’s last projection covering 2017).

By comparison, the other emerging technologies are all expected to see unit sales growth of at least 20%.

The fastest-growing of these will be Smart Speakers, with a projected 60% increase in unit sales this year. They’re followed by Smart Home devices (+41%), 4K UHD TVs (+27%), VR devices (+25%) and Drones (+20%).

Revenues & Revenue Growth

By far the largest market by revenues, 4K UHD TV revenues this year are expected to gross $15.9 billion, representing a 14% increase year-over-year. In fact, for the first time the CTA expects 4K UHD TVs to make up half of all digital displays sold this year.

The 4K UHD TV market is more than twice as large in dollar sales as the next-biggest emerging technology market, the Wearables market, which is expected to hit $6.4 billion in revenues this year (up just 1%).

Smart Home device revenues, meanwhile, are projected to grow to $4.5 billion, slightly higher than the Smart Speaker market ($3.8 billion). The latter will see a much higher revenue increase this year, however (93% vs. 34%).

The CTA notes that the Smart Home category consists of smart thermostats, smart smoke and carbon monoxide detectors, IP/Wi-Fi cameras, smart locks and doorbells, smart home systems, and smart switches, dimmers and outlets.

Revenue projections for the other emerging technologies are as follows:

  • Virtual Reality devices: $1.2 billion (+18%); and
  • Drones: $1.2 billion (+17%).

Maturing Tech Markets

In other forecasts, the CTA predicts that smartphone unit sales will increase by 2% to 189 million this year, with revenues up 3% to $62.9 billion.

The laptop market is also expected to expand, with unit sales up 3% to 50.1 million.

The automotive electronics market (factory-installed automotive tech, such as driver-assist features and entertainment systems), meanwhile, will enjoy a 5.9% increase to $15.9 billion in revenues.

Even TVs will continue their upswing after a better-than-expected 2017. Total digital display unit sales will grow by 2% to 44.2 million, per the CTA, while revenues will also climb 2% to $22.1 billion.

The only maturing technology expected to decline this year? The tablet market, with a 12% drop in unit sales (to 45.6 million units) and a 13% decline in revenues (to $12.5 billion).

The full forecast can be accessed here.

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