The Consumer Technology Association (CTA) offered up a trends presentation on the eve of CES 2020 that painted futuristic scenarios of task-oriented robots and flying cars. But the real nuggets that reveal the robust nature of the current consumer technology industry were offered in a separate research report issued that stated total U.S. consumer tech industry retail revenue is being projected to hit the $422 billion mark – a record high, CTA says.
The U.S. Consumer Technology Sales and Forecast Report, just issued by CTA, cites both rising popularity of streaming services and wireless earbuds’ rise in prominence, along with 5G connectivity and an increase in artificial intelligence (AI)-enabled devices, as prime reasons for the four percent overall growth in revenue over last year.
“In the last decade,” remarked CTA VP of Research Steve Koenig, underscoring the rise of AI in his presentation, “IoT meant Internet of Things. In the next 10 years, the industry will be increasingly confronted with the new IoT – the Intelligence of Things…AI permeates every facet of commerce and culture.”
The biannual report reflects U.S. factory sales to dealers for more than 300 consumer tech products and related software and services. An added feature to the 2020 forecast is a report on overall numbers for digital health devices including smartwatches, fitness trackers and connected health monitoring devices; that entire category is projected to account for the sale of 64 million devices and $10 billion in sales for 2020.
Here are some other salient points unearthed in the CTA research:
- Spending on software and streaming services (including music, video and video gaming) is projected to reach a new high of $81.2 billion in 2020 (11% up over 2019).
- Video: Award-winning original content and more big entrants to the video streaming wars will push consumer spending to $24.1 billion in 2020, up 29%.
Koenig said that 70-inch-plus TV screen sizes, CTA projects, will account for almost 2 million TV sales this year. The report further projects that TV manufacturers will ship 40.8 million units in 2020 (a 2% increase) driving $23.4 billion in revenue (flat with 2019), as new TV features drive interest for consumers. Other projections about video: replacement TV upgrades will not only be driven by bigger screens, but also by TVs featuring 4K Ultra High Definition (4K UHD) resolution and high dynamic range (HDR). In 2020, 4K UHD sets will account for 25 million units (12% increase) and $17.6 billion in revenue (2% increase). And 8K UHD TVs will likely cross the one billion-dollar milestone ($1.6 billion) in revenue, selling 504,000 units this year.
- Music: On-demand music services including Apple Music, Pandora and Spotify will total $9 billion in revenue, up 15%, with room to grow as more and more consumers adopt smart speakers and wireless earbuds.
- Video Gaming: Growing in-game spending and subscribers will push the video game software and services category to $38.3 billion in revenue this year, up 5%.
- Wireless Earbuds: Devices such as Apple AirPods and Samsung Galaxy Buds will help propel the category in 2020 to nearly 67 million units in 2020 (up 35%), earning $8.2 billion in revenue (up 31%), after a breakaway year of sales in 2019.
- Smart Home: Safety is a key driving force in the smart home category. CTA expects smart home sales – including smart doorbells and locks, Wi-Fi cameras, smart thermostats, smart smoke and carbon monoxide detectors, and smart home security kits – to reach 35.2 million units (15% growth) and $4.3 billion (4% increase).
- Smart Speakers: Consumers are upgrading their smart speakers, such as Google Home, Amazon Echo or Apple HomePod, to voice-enabled devices with a display screen. Unit sales are projected to reach 39 million units sold (up 5% over last year) and $4.2 billion in revenue (14% increase) in 2020.
Among other salient trends touched upon in his talk, Koenig cited changes in vehicle technology. “This is the electric decade for vehicles – not just cars,” alluding to urbanization trends stimulating the sale of devices like electric scooters.
He also stated that this CES, with 150 exhibitors showing products in the digital health space, shows how this area has morphed from a category into a lifestyle. He said that research shows over a third of U.S. households own at least one wearable device.