Artificial intelligence (AI), voice-recognition technology and fast connectivity will help spur overall U.S. consumer technology industry revenue to $377 billion in retail revenues in 2018, a 6% increase, according to the Consumer Technology Association (CTA).
The mid-year update of CTA’s report, “U.S. Consumer Technology Sales and Forecasts,” also shows whole home Wi-Fi solutions, wireless earbuds and augmented/virtual reality headsets will each cross the $1 billion wholesale revenue milestone for the first time this year.
The CTA forecast reflects U.S. factory sales-to-dealers for more than 300 consumer tech products, and related software and services. The biannual report serves as a benchmark for the U.S. consumer technology industry, charting the size and growth of underlying product categories.
According to the CTA, key categories projected to contribute significantly to overall unit and revenue growth include:
- Smart Home: The CTA expects smart home device sales, including 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, will reach 41.2 million units in 2018, a 43% increase over 2017, earning $4.6 billion, a 36% increase.
- Wearables: The total health and fitness market, including fitness activity trackers, other health and fitness devices, smartwatches, personal sound amplification products and sports tech, will reach sales of 46.1 million units in 2018, a 9% increase, and earn $6.4 billion, a 10% increase. As some companies turn their focus from fitness trackers to smartwatches, this sub-category is expected to sell 15.3 million units shipping in 2018, a 26% increase over 2017, with revenues of $3.7 billion, a 19% increase.
- Whole Home Wi-Fi Solutions: Also known as mesh networks, devices such as the eero Home Wi-Fi system, Google Wi-Fi or Netgear Orbi, are experiencing substantial growth due to their simple home network set-up and ability to provide strong Internet coverage throughout the home. These devices will cross the $1 billion revenue milestone for the first time in 2018 and sell 4.3 million units.
- Smart Speakers: Voice-controlled smart speakers, including Amazon Echo, Google Home and Apple HomePod, are experiencing a rise not seen since tablets. CTA expects the category to sell 39.2 million units, 44% growth over 2017, and reach $3.2 billion in revenue, 64% growth, after only three years on the market.
“Innovations in AI, voice and connectivity are making tech devices more helpful and versatile, and changing our lives for the better,” said Gary Shapiro, president and CEO, CTA. “And thanks in part to economic factors including tax reform and high employment driving our economy forward, even more consumers are bringing these remarkable tech innovations into their lives. Although tariffs and the trade war threaten to unravel the strong economic momentum driving tech adoption and sales, the current state of the industry is exciting and healthy going into the second half of the year.”