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Global CE Sales To Rise Less Than 1% In 2018: GfK

Sluggish smartphone sales countered by rise in TVs

With smartphone sales finally flattening, the global consumer electronics market is due to grow a mere 0.8 percent this year, according to GfK.

Global CE sales revenues are expected to rise to $996.25 billion in 2018, compared with $991.69 billion last year, according to GfK figures presented by Hans-Joachim Kamp, chairman of the supervisory board of the Consumer & Home Electronics GmbH of gfu, organizers of this week’s IFA in Berlin.

Smartphone sales, by far the largest segment of the global consumer electronics business, are expected to actually drop by 1 percent in the first half of this year. But GfK predicts smartphone sales will end up flat by year’s end at 1.46 billion devices sold, likely thanks to Apple’s annual introduction of new iPhones.

Related: The Top 100 Consumer Tech Retailers

Countering sluggish smartphone sales is the rise of TV numbers. According to GfK and Kamp, global sales of TVs are forecast to rise 7 percent this year to 238 million sets. While TV unit sales are likely to rise in every region, they’re expected to jump a whopping 22 percent in Latin America in 2018.

GfK said that 40 percent of global TV units sold will be 4K UHD models, while 69 percent of the total will be smart sets. OLED represents a mere 1 percent of global TV sales.

Another significant category in growing global CE sales are wearables. Kamp reported that 169 million wearable units will be sold globally this year, up 6 percent in the first half of 2018, settling to a 5 percent increase by the end of the year.

More generally, “voice control and artificial intelligence are the most important trends driving the market for new innovation,” noted Kamp. He also cited streaming audio as driving rising sales of CE hardware, especially headphones, sales of which jumped 26 percent in the first half of 2018.

See more sales data for consumer tech retailers in the TWICE Research Center.