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CE Sales To Grow, AI, Voice, Smart Speakers & New Gen Wireless Big Drivers

Consumer tech is coming back with the Consumer Technology Association the group that runs CES, tipping that revenues will hit $377 billion this year in the USA, a market that Australia closely follows, this is up 6 percent on last year and will be driven by artificial intelligence (AI), voice-recognition technology and fast connectivity.

It was also revealed that whole-home Wi-Fi solutions, wireless ear buds and AR/VR headsets will each cross the $1 billion wholesale revenue milestone.

“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.

Smart Speakers: This category is experiencing a “meteoric rise” not seen since tablets, said CTA.

The group expects the category to sell 39.2 million units (up 44 percent since 2017) and reach $3.2 billion in revenue (up 64 percent) after only three years on the market.

Smart Home: Sales will reach 41.2 million units in 2018 (up 43 percent vs. last year), earning $4.6 billion (up 36 percent). CTA includes 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 in this category.

Whole Home Wi-Fi Solutions: These devices will cross the $1 billion revenue milestone for the first time in 2018 (up 103 percent) and sell 4.3 million units (up 115 percent).

Also known as mesh networks, devices such as the D Link Covr 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, said CTA.

Drones: Total drone sales are expected to reach 3.4 million units (8 percent increase) and just over $1 billion in revenue (4 percent growth) in 2018, as more consumers and businesses adopt drones for photography, recreation, drone racing and more.

Wearables: The total health and fitness market will reach sales of 46.1 million units in 2018 (up 9 percent increase) and earn $6.4 billion (up 10 percent). CTA includes fitness activity trackers, other health and fitness devices, smart watches, personal sound amplification products and sports tech within this category.

Smart watch revenue is expected to grow 19 percent.

The smart-watch sub-category, meanwhile, is expected to sell 15.3 million units shipping in 2018, up 26 percent over last year, with revenues of $3.7 billion, up 19 percent.

“The new Internet of Things is the ‘Intelligence of Things’,” said Steve Koenig, CTA market research VP. “Connected products tap AI to enhance services, especially in categories including smartphones, connected cars and smart-home devices. And with 5G on our doorstep — the first 5G products will hit the market this year — we’re crossing into a new phase of faster and smarter connected devices.”

Smartphones: This category performed better than expected in 2017, CTA said, as consumers showed more interest in high-end models. In recognition of rising average wholesale prices, The group upwardly adjusted 2017 and 2018 smartphone revenue to $69 billion and $78 billion, respectively, reflecting a 13 percent revenue increase in 2018. Unit shipments are expected to stay flat, with just a 1 percent uptick to 169.4 million in 2018.

CTA expects 2019 U.S. sales will reach 2.1 million units and cross $1 billion in revenue, with triple-digit increases through 2021.

Computing: Convertible models and Cloud-based laptops remain a high-growth area within computing, CTA noted. Unit sales for laptops are projected to sell 50.1 million units (up 3 percent) and stay flat with $28.4 billion in revenue

TVs: This category, meanwhile, saw demand slow for the early part of the year due to strong performances from total digital displays in 2017.

CTA now projects total unit sales of digital displays will reach 40.4 million units (down 6 percent from last year), while higher average wholesale prices will keep revenue flat at $21 billion.

Future category growth will be driven by next-gen screen technology, CTA predicted.

4K Ultra HD TVs are forecast to sell 18.6 million units (up 11 percent) and generate $14.3 billion in revenue (up 7 percent). OLED unit sales are expected to reach 772,000 (up 45 percent) and earn $1.4 billion in revenue (up 42 percent) this year. In 2019, OLED display revenue will rise 50 percent to cross the $2 billion mark, said CTA.

Streaming Services: Consumer spending on subscription music and video streaming services are projected to reach $19.7 billion in revenue in 2018 (up 38 percent). Spending on video streaming content is expected to reach $13.4 billion in revenue, and on-demand audio content is projected to bring in $6.3 billion in revenue in 2018.

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