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Wearables, UAVs Make CEA’s List of Profitable Emerging Tech

January 6, 2015  - By
Image: GPS World

Record-Breaking Year Ahead: Industry Revenues to Reach All-Time High of $223.2B in 2015

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 The U.S. Consumer Electronics Sales and Forecasts, the semi-annual industry report released today by the Consumer Electronics Association (CEA). The total revenues forecast was announced by CEA President and CEO Gary Shapiro during his opening remarks today at the 2015 International CES, running January 6-9 in Las Vegas.

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.

Emerging Technologies

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 unmanned systems (unmanned aerial vehicles, unmanned vehicles and home robots); wearables such as health and fitness devices, smartwatches and smart eyewear; IP cameras; 3D printers; 4K Ultra-High Definition televisions; and connected thermostats.

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 Revolution

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.

Other mobile devices:

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.”

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.

The U.S. Consumer Electronics Sales and Forecast 2010-2015 (January 2015) is published twice a year, in January and July, reporting U.S. factory sales-to-dealers. It was designed and formulated by CEA to be a comprehensive source of sales data, forecasts, consumer research and historical trends for the consumer electronics industry.

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