Tech Industry Revenues to Reach $351 Billion This Year

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Americans love their tech toys. To prove it, they are expected to spend $351 billion in 2018 on items like smart speakers, virtual reality (VR) headsets, smartphones and other high-tech devices.

2018 retail spending on tech will rise 3.9% year over year, including the addition of a new category of product: music and video streaming services, valued at $19.5 billion, up 35% year over year. Excluding these services, 2018 retail spending on tech will rise 2.2%.

The data were reported on Sunday at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) by the Consumer Technology Association (CTA), a business group composed of manufacturers and distributors of consumer electronics products and service providers. The 2018 forecast reflects U.S. factory-to-dealer sales of more than 300 consumer tech products.

CTA President and CEO Gary Shapiro said:

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. 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.

Among emerging technologies, CTA forecasts unit sales to rise to 715 million units, up 6.6% year over year. Here’s the breakdown by device type:

Smart speakers. Unit sales rose 279% in 2017 and CTA expects a 60% increase this year to 43.6 million units and $3.8 billion in revenues (up 93% from 2017).

Smart home. This includes gear like smart thermostats, Wi-Fi cameras and door locks. Sales are forecast to rise 41% to 40.8 million units with $4.5 billion in revenue (up 34%).

Virtual reality. VR headsets and eyewear unit shipments are expected to rise 25% year over year to 4.9 million units and to generate $1.2 billion in revenue (up 18%).

Drones. Total drone sales are forecast at 3.7 million units (up 20%) with revenues reaching $1.2 billion (up 18%).

Wearables. Fitness trackers and smartwatches are going to be joined this year by smart basketballs and baseball bats. Sales are forecast at 49.3 million units (up 4%) with revenues of $6.4 billion (up 1%).

Here are CTA’s projections for sales in mature technology categories:

Smartphones. Volume is forecast to rise to 189 million units (up 2%) with revenues at $62.9 billion (up 3%).

Laptops. Sales of an estimated 50.1 million units are forecast to generate $28.4 billion in sales.

Televisions. Sales of 44.2 million units (up 2%) are expected to generate $22.1 billion in sales. CTA also forecast that 4K UHD TVs will make up half of all displays sold this year.

Automotive electronics. From driver-assist features to entertainment systems, automotive electronics are set to contribute $15.9 billion in sales this year.

Tablets. Tablet and two-in-one sales are forecast to decline this year to 45.6 million units (down 12%) with revenue of $12.5 billion (down 13%).

Overall, mature technology sales from these top five categories will contribute just over half (51%) of all retail sales in 2018.