With another CES well in the rear-view mirror, it’s worth taking a look at what’s ahead – and it seems to be a rosy outlook for consumer tech. To wit, the Consumer Technology Association (CTA) recently forecast a record-breaking year for the industry, with close to 4% year-over-year growth and $422 billion in retail revenue. This upswing is expected to be driven by streaming services and wireless earbuds as well as 5G connectivity and AI-enabled devices.
Included in the outlook are music and video streaming services, which are projected to grow 11% from last year to hit a total of $81.2 billion in 2020. Streaming video revenues are expected to increase by 29% largely due to high-quality original content, which is often the reason viewers subscribe to an SVOD service such as the new services from the likes of Apple and Disney. CTA also predicts the continued growth (up 15% from 2019) of streaming music services such as Spotify, Pandora and Apple Music as more consumers invest in technology like smart speakers and wireless earbuds.
The following covers some highlights from CTA’s predictions.
Emerging Consumer Tech
Unit Sales and Growth
Wireless earbuds are set to make a big splash this year with the likes of Apple AirPods and Samsung Galaxy Buds driving growth in sales to almost 67 million units this year, up 35%. This is compared to last year’s forecast when wireless earbuds were predicted to see sales of about 16 million units. (Editor’s Note: MarketingCharts reached out to the CTA to inquire about the apparent discrepancy in last year’s forecast with this year’s. We’ll update this article when they respond.)
Smart Home devices are expected to see 35.2 million units sold this year, an increase of 15% over last year. This comes as more consumers are focusing on safety and comfort via devices such as smart doorbells and locks, as well as smart smoke and carbon monoxide detectors, wifi cameras, smart home security and smart thermostats.
Despite the concerns some consumers hold that their smart speakers are listening in on their conversations without consent, CTA estimates that sales of these devices – including Amazon Echo, Google Home and Apple HomePod – will climb by 5% over 2019 to reach 39 million units. CTA notes that smart speaker owners are upgrading their older devices for voice-enabled devices with a display screen.
Wireless earbuds are by far the front-runner of the emerging technology categories contained in the press release. With an expected growth of 31% over last year, wireless earbuds are projected to earn $8.2 billion in revenue in 2020. (Again, these numbers seem off given last year’s forecast of ~$2B in sales revenue, but will be updated in a clarification from the CTA is forthcoming.)
Meanwhile, smart home technology is predicted to reach $4.3 billion in revenues (up 4% from last year), while CTA expects to see $4.2 billion in revenues for Smart Speaker sales up 14% year-over-year. This is twice the revenue growth predicted last year.
Maturing Tech Markets
Turning to more mature markets, smartphone unit sales are expected to reach 166 million units this year (up 2%). This increase is boosted by 5G smartphone models, which will account for a predicted 20.3 million units sold. Smartphone sales are expected to result in $79 billion in revenue, with $15.3 billion of that coming from the sale of 5G models.
Laptop sales, for their part, could reach 53 million units (up 1% from 2019) with revenues growing by 1% to reach $33.3 billion.
Overall unit sales of TVs are predicted to increase by 2% to reach 40.8 billion units, with a resultant $23.4 billion in revenue (unchanged from 2019). The growth in sales is driven by TV features including 4K Ultra High Definition (UHD), which will account for 25 million of the total units sold and $17.6 billion in revenue. 8K UHD TVs are also expected to bring in $1.6 billion in revenue with 504K units expected to be sold.
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.