Tech spending trends as driven by pandemic
Smartphones, video game consoles, large-screen TVs among hot items, says CTA
New research from the Consumer Technology Association (CTA) shows consumer enthusiasm for technology products will grow in the next year, as 39% of U.S. households say they are more likely to buy tech products because of the pandemic.
CTA’s 23rd annual Consumer Technology Ownership & Market Potential Study also says U.S. consumer intent to buy tech products in the next 12 months is 11% higher than this time last year – with smartphones, videogame consoles and televisions helping drive the growth.
“More people now see tech as essential – not only for working and learning and connecting during the pandemic, but for changing our post-pandemic lives for the better,” said Steve Koenig, VP of research, CTA. “As we all adapted to life during the pandemic and tried new technologies, we discovered these innovations – streaming video, virtual meetings, telemedicine, contactless delivery – improved our everyday lives. Our latest research shows more consumers want the latest technology innovations to help them lead a happy and healthy 21st century lifestyle.”
Surge in stay-at-home tech
2021 brought a milestone for the video game industry – more than half of U.S. homes (53%, up 10% from last year) now own a video game console. And 30% of households plan to buy one in the next 12 months – a 43% jump from 2020.
For the fourth straight year, smart speakers lead the smart home category – 41% of homes now own a smart speaker, and 23% plan to buy one in the next year. Smart appliances and smart doorbells (both at 26%) are the second-most frequently owned smart home tech.
Home entertainment systems are surging in popularity. TVs (91%), digital streaming devices and DVD/Blu-ray players (both at 55%) are the most-frequently owned products in the category – soundbars (36%, up six points) also show strong growth. For the first time, more than half of U.S. homes (52%) have a 4K Ultra HD TV – a 16-point increase from 2020, the largest growth for any product surveyed.
In another first, ownership of wireless earbuds (47%, up five points) now exceeds wired earbuds (45%, down eight points). Ownership of Bluetooth/wireless over-the-ear headphones also grew five points (46%).
Health and wellness trends
The pandemic sped the adoption of health and wellness technologies and services. Since last March, 20% of U.S. households used online health services for the first time, and 20% plan to continue using them in the next year.
Twenty-five percent of U.S. homes now own air purifiers, 23% have smart or connected health monitoring devices and 19% have connected sports or fitness equipment (up seven points from 2020). Both smartwatches (35% ownership) and wearable activity fitness trackers (31%) showed year-over-year growth.
TVs surpass smartphones, for now
The most-frequently owned tech products in U.S. homes are once again TVs, but the second-most frequently owned tech products, smartphones (90%), may surpass TVs in 2022. Thirty-seven percent of consumers plan to buy smartphones in the next 12 months, while 29% of consumers plan to buy TVs.
The other top-five most-frequently owned products are notebooks or laptop computers (73%), portable device chargers (71%) and computer accessories such as a wireless keyboard or mouse (65%).
CTA’s 23rd Annual Consumer Technology Ownership and Market Potential Study was administered as an online survey 2409 U.S. adults (18+) between April 9-18, 2021. It is designed and formulated by CTA Market Research, the most comprehensive source of sales data, forecasts, consumer research and historical trends for the consumer technology industry.
The complete study is available for free for CTA member companies or purchase at CTA.tech/research.