October 7, 2019
The Consumer Technology Association (CTA), producers of January’s CES tech confab in Las Vegas, recently projected CE trends for 2020 and beyond after updating its semi-annual U.S. Consumer Sales and Forecasts report. According to Variety Intelligence Platform (VIP), a new division of Variety, key takeaways from the report most relevant to the entertainment industry include subscription video streaming services, smart TVs, 4K tech, gaming and 5G Internet (in addition to related networking options and VR/AR products). CTA anticipates consumer tech retail revenue will reach $415 billion in the U.S. next year, up 5.7 percent from 2018.
Amidst industry-wide digital disruption that is affecting consumption methods while introducing new distribution channels and devices, CTA and VIP collaborated on the 8 Key Consumer Tech Trends for Entertainment:
1. Subscription streaming video services continue to grow.
2. Streaming media players unit sales are catching up to traditional set-top boxes.
3. Streaming device sales have replaced disc players, but disc legacy remains.
4. Smart TVs continue to grow.
5. 4K is beginning to get big.
6. Gaming is bigger than you think.
7. 5G is about to land.
8. VR and AR may finally realize their potential.
Variety reports: “Consumers in the U.S. will spend about $21.9 billion on SVOD services like Netflix and Hulu in 2020, up 24 percent from $17.7 billion in 2019, according to CTA. The growing spend on these services will be pushed forward over the next year by the launches of buzzy services like Disney+, Apple TV+, HBO Max, and NBCU’s Peacock streaming product.”
This is expected to drive an increase in streaming hardware sales while adversely impacted sales of cable and satellite set-top-boxes and disc players.
CTA projects that 29 million smart TVs will be sold in 2020, an increase from 26.6 million in 2018, while 4K ultra high-definition TVs will comprise half of the new sets sold in 2020, marking an all-time high for 4K.
The emergence of 5G is predicted to impact “sales of home networking options, including Wi-Fi routers, broadband gateways, and 5G home gateways,” adds Variety. “The emergence of 5G is also expected to pave the way for a better VR experience due to the reduction in loading times. CTA predicts 2020 will be the first time annual sales of VR/AR headsets in the U.S. will see double-digit growth in four years.”
“The emergence of new distribution channels and entertainment formats will create opportunities for innovative new entrants to disturb once-locked markets,” predicts CTA in its report (also available as a PDF), noting “the potential that 5G will bring as its adoption grows will present the right set of circumstances for forward-thinking companies to become one of the first to market in areas which are set to boom in the coming years (AR, subscription gaming, 4K mobile video distribution).”