Technology will continue to play a huge role in consumers’ lives (and wallets) into 2018. On the eve of the annual CES, the Consumer Technology Association is projecting the industry will post $351 billion in retail revenues in 2018, up nearly 4% over 2017.
For the first time, the forecast includes a projection for streaming services. The organization forecasts the sector will see $19.5 billion in revenue, up 35% over last year. (Comparing apples to apples, consumer spending on technology excluding streaming services would increase 2.2% in 2018.)
Emerging technologies will lead the growth, with sales of connected devices expected to reach 715 million units in 2018, up 6.6% over 2017. Among the hot products will be smart speakers (which will see a 60% increase in unit sales to 43.6 million, creating $3.8 billion in revenue); smart home features such as thermostats, smoke and carbon monoxide detectors, smart locks and doorbells (projected to increase 41% for 40.8 million unit sales and $4.5 billion in revenue), and wearables (which will increase 4% to 49 million unit sales and $6.4 billion). Other emerging technologies such as drones and virtual reality devices will also see large increases over the year, according to the CTA.
Yet, it’s the mature technologies that will contribute most to the overall sales. Smartphones, laptops, televisions, automotive electronics and tabets will account for 51% of the year’s total revenue. As consumers continue replacement cycles for smartphones, the category will see a slight (3%) increase in revenues to $62.9 billion.
Laptop sales are also projected to increase 3%, earning 28.4 billion in revenue, and televisions will see a 2% increase in revenues to 22.1 billion. (For the first time, 4K UHD sets will make up half of all the digital displays in 2018, generating $15.9 billion in revenues.) Tablet sales, however, will decline about 13%, as consumers look to convertible laptops as replacements for their current tablets.
“Technology is improving our lives in more ways than ever — and consumer enthusiasm is growing just as quickly as companies can bring their innovations to market,” said Gary Shapiro, president and CEO, CTA, in a statement.
“Our forecast incorporates several key economic factors including a strong stock market, continued job growth and stable rules for international trade to forecast these record-setting sales for breakthrough technologies and longtime market leaders alike. And the driving themes of 2018, including voice computing, artificial intelligence and connectivity that make our lives better and more efficient, will be on display across the show floor this week at CES 2018.”