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New Tech Driving CE Growth: CEA

Arlington, Va. — CE factory sales are projected to grow 2.4 percent this year, to $285 billion, driven by a 101 percent surge in emerging tech products, the Consumer Electronics Association (CEA) reported.

According to the trade association’s midyear “Sales and Forecasts” report, wholesale revenue from such new-tech categories as wearables, connected-home devices, drones, 3D printers and 4K UHD TVs will add about $10 billion to total CE coffers this year.

Excluding emerging tech’s contribution, industry revenue would fall year over year, CEA industry analysis senior manager Chris Ely said yesterday in presenting the report during TWICE’s “Christmas In July” webinar (rebroadcast available here).

CEA also lowered its full-year forecast from the 3 percent growth projected in its January report due to “slow economic growth in the first half of the year.” 

 Breaking out emerging tech, connected-home revenue is expected to grow 32 percent to $967 million; factory sales of drones will grow 52 percent to nearly $105 million, with shipments nearing 700,000 units; and health and fitness products will lead all wearables in unit volume with a projected 21 percent increase, to some 20.3 million devices, spurring an 18 percent increase in wholesale sales, to $1.8 billion.

In 4K UHD, unit factory shipments are projected to hit 4.4 million this year, up a whopping 210 percent, with wholesale revenue more than doubling to $5.3 billion.

“Consumer technology is about constant and continuous innovation and that is what we are seeing in 2015,” said CEA president/CEO, Gary Shapiro. “As the technology industry naturally ebbs and flows, a new class of tech is generating lots of enthusiasm among consumers. Emerging categories such as 4K Ultra HD, smart home, and health and fitness technology are the breakout stars driving the industry onward and upward.”

Meanwhile, the legacy categories of smartphones, tablets, LCD TVs, laptops and desktops remain the industry’s five-largest revenue generators, responsible for more than half (53 percent) of total tech sales with combined revenues of $119 billion.

 CEA’s consensus forecast reflects U.S. factory sales to dealers and covers more than 100 CE products. The projected full-year revenue figure of $285 billion accounts for retail markup; excluding that, wholesale sales are expected to hit $222.7 billion this year.

Looking ahead, CEA expects industry sales to grow by 2.7 percent in 2016, with revenues reaching an all-time high of $228.8 billion.