Revenues for the consumer electronics (CE) industry are projected to grow three percent in 2015 and to reach an all-time high of $223.2-billion, according to a report released by the Consumer Electronics Association (CEA). The total revenues forecast was announced by CEA president and CEO Gary Shapiro during his opening remarks at the 2015 International CES, the global gathering place for consumer technology, running January 6-9, in Las Vegas NV.
CEA’s consensus forecast reflects U.S. factory sales to dealers and covers more than 100 CE products. The twice-annual report serves as a benchmark for the CE industry, charting the size and growth of underlying categories.
The 2015 forecast projects that revenue for new, emerging product categories is expected to double, growing 108 percent year-over-year in 2015. These new technology categories include 3D printers, 4K Ultra-High Definition televisions, connected thermostats, unmanned systems (unmanned aerial vehicles, unmanned vehicles and home robots), IP cameras and wearables such as health and fitness devices, smartwatches and smart eyewear.
While the emerging product categories represent less than five percent of the entire CE industry revenue forecast, they are expected to contribute almost $11 billion to overall CE revenue in 2015.
“Our forecast underscores that consumers’ love affair with technology shows no signs of slowing any time soon,” said Shapiro. “Consumer technology is all about continued innovation. In the blink of an eye, consumer demand has taken off for emerging categories such as wearables, unmanned aerial vehicles and 4K Ultra HD – categories that were too small to track just three years ago. Expect to see these burgeoning categories, as well as innovations across the full spectrum of consumer technology, on display this week at the 2015 International CES.”
The wearable device revolution is a key category to watch in the coming years, and especially in 2015. CEA projects overall wearable unit sales will reach 30.9 million units (a 61 percent increase from last year) and generate $5.1 billion in revenue in 2015 (a 133 percent increase). CEA’s wearables category encompasses fitness activity bands and other health and fitness devices, as well as smartwatches and smart eyewear.
* Health and fitness devices: Led by the popularity of activity tracking devices, health and fitness devices will lead unit sales among all wearables in 2015 with a projected 20 million units. Revenue is expected to surpass $1.8 billion in 2015.
* These devices are expected to take off in 2015, selling 10.8 million units (a 359 percent increase) and earning a projected $3.1 billion in revenue (a 474 percent increase over 2014). Smartphones: As the sales leader of the industry, smartphone unit shipments are projected to reach 169.3 million this year, up six percent from 2014. Additionally, smartphone revenues are expected to generate $51.3 billion in 2015, a five percent increase from last year. Particular growth will be seen in screen sizes between 5.3 inches – 6.5 inches.
* Tablets: Unit sales of tablets are projected to reach 80.7 million this year, a three percent increase from 2014. Revenues for tablets will reach $24.9 billion this year, down one percent.
“Mobile connected devices have reached an equilibrium, stabilizing the steep climb these products have experienced in recent years,” said Shawn DuBravac, Ph.D., chief economist, CEA and author of CEA’s soon-to-be released book Digital Destiny: How the New Age of Data Will Transform the Way We Work, Live, and Communicate. “Overall, improving economic conditions, consumer enthusiasm for new features and product categories, competitive manufacturer pricing and several other dynamics now at play should make 2015 an especially significant year for tech.”
Larger screen sizes and innovative display features have more consumers upgrading their video experience. TV sales remain critical as the industry’s third-largest contributor to the total revenue with sales of TV sets and displays projected to reach $18.3 billion in 2015, down two percent from 2014.
* 4K Ultra High-Definition: The continued market growth of 4K UHD TV continues to perform better than expected in 2014. Unit shipments of 4K UHD displays are projected to reach four million in 2015 (a 208 percent increase). Revenue from 4K UHD displays is expected to exceed $5 billion in 2015, more than double its 2014 total (a 106 percent increase).
Other CE categories expected to enjoy positive growth in 2015 include audio, electronic gaming and laptops. Automotive electronics will see continued growth due to new vehicle sales in 2015, reaching $14 billion in revenue, a 3.3 percent increase.