The Internet of Things is fueling a revolution of connectivity across the world. From businesses to consumers, IoT technology is opening up brand new frontiers for monitoring, controlling and accessing data anywhere, anytime. According to a recent forecast by Consumer Technology Associates (CTA), broad adoption and enthusiasm for IoT technology will drive the consumer industry to a whopping $286.6 billion in retail revenue this year, an increase of 1.3 percent over last year.
“We’re in the midst of a critical transition period, as more IoT products offer the anytime/anywhere access and seamless experiences that today’s consumers want and need,” said Gary Shapiro, president and CEO, CTA. “This is a pivotal point in consumer technology history, as emerging tech categories – virtual reality, voice-controlled digital assistants, drones – push the entire industry forward. And the value of these innovations goes far beyond entertainment – today’s technology is changing our lives for the better.”
According to CTA’s industry report, “U.S. Consumer Technology Sales and Forecasts,” while the five largest tech categories (smartphones, tablets, LCD televisions, laptops and desktop computers) will account for about half of the tech industry’s revenue this year, the story will change in 2017. Next year, CTA predicts that emerging tech will account for more than half of all consumer tech revenue.
IoT Fueling Industry Revenue Growth
Click through for more on how emerging technology fueled by IoT connectivity will change over the coming months, as identified by Computer Technology Associates (CTA).
Emerging Tech: 4K UHD Ecosystem
2016 will be a flagship year for 4K Ultra High-Definition (4K UHD) TVs, driven in part by the market introduction of next-generation technologies like HDR. CTA expects shipments of 4K UHD displays will reach 15 million units (a 105 percent increase), and revenue will exceed $12.9 billion (a 69 percent increase). New to the market in 2016, 4K UHD Blu-ray players will further build the 4K UHD ecosystem with 700,000 units sold and $63 million in revenue.
Emerging Tech: Wearables
Driven by the popularity of fitness activity trackers, unit sales of all wearables in 2016 are forecast to reach almost 48 million units (a 39 percent increase). Fitness activity tracker volumes will hit 28 million units in 2016 – a 60 percent increase from 2015 – with revenues reaching $2.2 billion – a 62 percent increase. After a year of strong growth, smartwatch unit growth is slowing, while revenue will decline for the first time. Units are expected to increase 15 percent to 12.2 million units, earning $2.8 billion in revenue, a decline of eight percent.
Emerging Tech: Smart Home
CTA projects the smart home category – including smart thermostats, smart smoke and CO2 detectors, IP/Wi-Fi cameras, smart locks, smart home systems, and smart switches, dimmers and outlets – to reach 9.5 million units sold in 2016 (a 29 percent increase). Revenue will grow to $1.3 billion (a 24 percent jump).
Emerging Tech: Drones
Drone sales are expected to reach record heights, topping 2.4 million units (up 112 percent from 2015) and $799 million in shipment revenues (an 80 percent increase from 2015). CTA’s forecast also delineates expected U.S. drone sales for units below and above 250 grams, the FAA’s threshold for mandatory drone registration, expected to reach 1.6 million units (below 250 grams) and 825,000 units (above 250 grams).
Emerging Tech: Virtual Reality (VR)
With several global tech leaders introducing VR headsets to the consumer market in 2016, CTA expects this to be the tech sector’s overwhelming leader in year-to-year growth. Unit sales will increase by 296 percent over last year, reaching 800,000 units sold. Total revenues are projected to reach $432 million, a 332 percent increase this year.
Emerging Tech: Digital Assistant Devices
This is the first year the semi-annual CTA report has included projections for voice-activated devices that provide a cloud-based artificial intelligence-powered virtual assistant, such as Amazon’s Echo. Sales are projected to reach 2.2 million units (up 32 percent) in 2016 and earn $392 million in revenue (increasing 32 percent).
Emerging Tech: 3D Printing
Ever-expanding 3D printing capabilities will drive the sector’s unit sales growth to increase 56 percent from last year, to reach 171,000 units sold. Total revenues will reach $148 million, a 35 percent increase.
Maturing Tech: Smartphones
CTA projects unit shipments to reach 183 million in 2016 (up five percent), while revenues will reach $55 billion (a four percent increase). As tremendous innovations in smartphone hardware over the past few years have lengthened the replacement cycle, 2017 will be the first year smartphones see a slight decline in unit sales and revenue.
Maturing Tech: Televisions
The TV market will remain on par with 2015, with unit sales estimated to reach 39.7 million units in 2016 (down one percent) and revenues expected to reach $20 billion (a three percent increase). LCD TVs, the category leader, will contribute 38.8 million units (a one percent decline) and $19.2 billion (two percent growth). Key areas of growth are large screen sizes, 4K UHD and smart TV displays.
Maturing Tech: Tablets
After momentous growth and widespread adoption over the past five years, tablet sales will decline again in 2016. CTA expects sales of 65 million units in 2016, a two percent decrease, and revenues of $19 billion, down five percent.
Maturing Tech: Laptops
Unit shipments of laptops are expected to reach 25 million units in 2016, a six percent decrease. Revenues are expected to reach $15.8 billion, an eight percent drop.
Maturing Tech: Desktops
Amid an accelerated decline, desktops are projected to sell seven million units (13 percent decrease), earning $4.6 billion in revenue (a 15 percent decrease).