The wearables market maintained its upward trajectory in the first quarter of 2015 as new vendors, including Apple, prepared to enter the market, according to IDC’s latest forecast. IDC’s “Worldwide Quarterly Wearable Device Tracker” estimates that 72.1 million wearable devices will be shipped in 2015, up a strong 173.3 percent from the 26.4 million units shipped in 2014. Shipment volumes are expected to experience a compound annual growth rate of 42.6 percent over the five-year forecast period, reaching 155.7 million units shipped in 2019 ... A bump in new jobs is making things look a bit brighter for consumer spending, if the latest figures from the U.S. Commerce Department and the Census Bureau are any indication. Consumer spending rose in May, up 0.9 percent, or just shy of $106 billion, for the month compared with April. Wages and salaries also increased in May, rising $37.1 billion vs. a $21.6 billion increase in April ... Retail sales also rose in May, according to the U.S. Census Bureau, to $444.9 billion. (Food services are also included in these figures.) This is up 1.2 percent from April and up 2.7 from the prior-year period. Although sales in CE and appliance stores were essentially flat for the month, with just a 0.1 percent dip, furniture and home-furnishing stores witnessed a 0.8 percent monthly increase and a whopping 4.1 percent year-over-year jump ... Amazon has begun streaming the first season of the Amazon original series “Mozart in the Jungle” in high dynamic range (HDR) for playback through the Amazon video app on Samsung SUHD TVs. The company said it is the first streaming service to offer HDR programming. “Additional titles in HDR and expanded device compatibility can be expected this year as Amazon continues to work with Hollywood studios, technology leaders and global consumer electronics companies to expand the Amazon HDR experience,” the company said ... Millennials are more aware of home-automation products and more interested in buying them than the population as a whole, an NPD Group survey found. Millennials are also twice as likely to own home-automation products compared to the entire population, NPD found. Twenty-three percent of millennials have already installed at least one home-automation product compared to 12 percent of the total population, NPD said. Millennials will continue to drive the market’s growth because 41 percent of them are aware of and interested in owning smart home products, while awareness and interest by older age groups is lower, the company added. A key factor driving growth is that the smart home market is no longer exclusively for home owners, NPD said. Renters are just as likely as home owners to have smart home products installed, and renters are three times more likely to be part of the millennial age group, NPD said ... 4K LCD TV panel shipments continue to rise, driven by forces on both the supply side and the demand side, according to new data from IHS. Shipments of 4K TV panels in April exceeded 3 million units for the first time, comprising 14 percent of all TV panels shipped globally during the month, according to the IHS monthly TFT LCD shipment database. Of all TV panels forecast to ship in 2016, one in five is forecast to be 4K.