The consumer tech category that will see the greatest jump in sales this year, according to new data from the Consumer Technology Association (CTA), is…..factory-installed, in-vehicle technology.
The category will increase by over $1 billion compared to last year, hitting sales of $17.6 billion (an 8 percent increase).
Including blind spot detection, adaptive cruise control, lane keeping and collision avoidance systems, OEM in-vehicle tech is “driving sales of both factory-installed and aftermarket vehicle technology alike,” said the CTA.
Otherwise, the popular categories this year are what you might expect. Smart home devices like WiFi cameras and smart thermostats will see 19 percent growth to 28.6 million units ($4.5 billion).
Smart speakers like Amazon Echo and Google Home are expected to reach sales of 35.2 million units, but that’s only a 1 percent increase over last year. Dollar sales in the category should hit $3 billion this year.
Smartphones are expected to actually decline in sales this year for the first time. Smartphones are now owned by 91 percent of U.S. households. Sales are forecast to fall by 2 percent to 165.5 million units, with a 2 percent drop in revenue to $77.5 billion.
Here’s new forecasts on other leading CE categories:
Home Robots: Robots that vacuum or mow the lawn, clean the floor and more are expected to see double digit year-over-year growth. CTA expects the category to sell 3.6 million units, a 12 percent annual increase, and earn $1.2 billion in revenue, a 19 percent jump.
Wireless Earbuds: Leading devices including Apple AirPods and Beats by Dre Powerbeats Pro are expected to sell nearly 16 million units in 2019 (up 45 percent) and approach $2 billion in revenue (a 46 percent increase). CTA projects double-digit growth for the category over the next few years.
Smartwatches: As consumers gravitate toward premium smartwatches, revenue for the category is expected to increase 19 percent in 2019 to reach $5.4 billion. Smartwatches are projected to sell 20.1 million units, a 7 percent increase over last year..
Televisions: After two years of record sales, TV sales will start to taper off in 2019, as LCD shipments decline and upgrades from 4K Ultra High-Definition (4K UHD), 8K UHD and OLED sets grow. TVs remain the centerpiece technology in many American homes, said the CTA.
Overall, the total TV category will ship 38.8 million units in 2019 (a 1 percent increase) driving $21.4 billion in revenue (9 percent decrease) – following a better-than-expected year of sales in 2018. Upgrades will be driven by big screen models and sets featuring 4K UHD resolution and HDR technology. This year 4K UHD sets will account for 17 million units (7 percent increase) and almost $15 billion in revenue (9 percent decrease).
Looking ahead, inaugural shipments of 8K UHD TVs in 2019 will reach $734 million in revenue and 175,000 units. And the up-and-coming OLED market will surpass one million units this year (up 30 percent over 2018) with double-digit growth through CTA’s forecast horizon of 2023.
Consumer spending on software and services (including music, video and gaming services) is projected to reach a new high of $75.6 billion in 2019 (a 14 percent growth over last year). Driving consumer demand are cloud-based subscription services:
- Video: Live TV streaming and exclusive content through subscriptions will push consumer spending on video streaming services to $17.7 billion in 2019, up 25%.
- Music: On-demand music services including Apple Music, Pandora and Spotify will cross $8 billion in revenue, up 33% as increased adoption of products such as wireless earbuds and smart speakers drive more music subscriptions.
- Gaming: A revolutionary shift toward cloud-based streaming models, subscriptions and growing in-game purchases will push the gaming software and services category to $38.9 billion in revenue in 2019 – an 11% increase.
In total, the U.S. consumer tech industry is projected to hit a record-breaking $401 billion in retail revenues in 2019 – 2.2 percent growth year over year – according to the CTA.
“Enthusiasm for AI-powered technologies is skyrocketing – more consumers are discovering for themselves how tech innovation can change their daily lives for the better,” said Gary Shapiro, president and CEO, CTA. “And with 5G delivering the faster connectivity we’ll need for anytime/anywhere streaming, smarter home robotics and more advanced vehicles, consumer excitement will only grow, but unnecessary tariffs – taxes paid by American consumers and businesses – threaten to slow down our nation’s economic momentum.”
The data is included in the CTA’s biannual U.S. Consumer Technology Sales and Forecasts report, It reflects U.S. factory sales-to-dealers for 300+ consumer tech products and related software and services.