Artificial intelligence (AI) and fast internet connectivity, both critical ingredients for smartphones, smart home devices and smart speakers, will drive the U.S. consumer technology industry to a record-breaking $398 billion in retail revenues in 2019.
That's $301 billion wholesale and 3.9% year-over-year (YOY) growth, which includes streaming services revenue, according to the Consumer Technology Association (CTA).
Released today in advance of CES, the semi-annual U.S. Consumer Technology Sales and Forecasts report reflects U.S. factory sales-to-dealers for more than 300 consumer tech products and related software and services.
Among the products projected to contribute significantly to the consumer tech sector’s growth in 2019:
- Smart Speakers: Voice-controlled smart speakers including Amazon Echo and Google Home are projected to sell 36.6 million units (five percent YOY increase) and earn $3.2 billion in revenue (seven percent YOY growth). Although adoption is slowing due to rapid voice integration in other devices such as TVs, smart home devices and other audio products, smart speakers remain a category to watch as consumers embrace the benefits of AI in their home.
- Smart Home: Products that address home monitoring and security are driving the smart home category. CTA expects category 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 – to reach 29.4 million units in 2019 (23 percent increase) and $4.6 billion (17 percent increase).
- Wireless Earbuds: Wireless earbuds are a standout audio product, with double digit growth projected for the next few years. Devices including Apple AirPods and Bose SoundSport Free are expected to sell nearly 16 million units in 2019 (up 44 percent) and approach $2 billion in revenue this year (46 percent growth).
- Smartwatches: As fitness tech companies shift their focus from basic trackers to more sophisticated smartwatches, this category is expected to see 20.5 million units shipping in 2019, a 25 percent increase over last year, with revenues of $4.7 billion, a 19 percent increase.
- Drones: Total drone sales are expected to reach 3.4 million units (four percent increase) and just over $1 billion in revenue (four percent growth) in 2019, as more consumers and businesses adopt drones for aerial photography, drone racing and recreation.
“The future is bright for many tech products consumers already know and love, as stalwart revenue drivers including smartphones, laptops and televisions continue to innovate,” says Steve Koenig, vice president of market research, CTA. “2019 will mark the introduction of 5G-enabled devices and smartphones and next-gen screen technology such as 8K UHD televisions to the market. And constantly-evolving content from streaming services that enhances the experience across ‘the three screens’ – TVs, smartphones, laptops – will help push consumer spending in tech to new levels.”