What will drive consumer tech sales in 2021?
Propelled by pandemic needs, consumer tech sales in the U.S. saw their strongest growth in 2020 in at least seven years, according to NPD Group’s “Future of Tech” forecast. This week around 2,000 vendors are attending the first-ever virtual CES show to drive that growth further.
According to NPD’s survey, sales in the U.S. consumer technology industry jumped 17 percent through Dec. 26. Sales are expected to climb 12 percent in the first quarter.
Overall sales, however, are expected to decline two percent in 2021 as the outsized 2020 comparisons are anniversaried. NPD also predicts a decline of two percent in 2022, followed by flat sales in 2023.
Stephen Baker, VP, industry advisor at NPD, in a statement stressed that, despite year-over-year declines in 2021, the results will still represent double-digit growth versus pre-pandemic levels.
“The pandemic has renewed recognition of the critical value of technology to consumers, so while sales comparisons may stagnate, demand on an overall basis for consumer electronics will be higher for the next two years than it would have been without the events of 2020,” said Mr. Baker.
NPD expects smart home and PC gaming related products to grow 9 percent and three percent respectively in 2021. Both categories were seen having long-term growth potential pre-pandemic.
By 2023, the top five segments based on revenue (notebooks, tablets, headphones, TVs and smartwatches) are predicted to expand to over 55 percent of all tech sales from 44 percent in 2017.
“In the latter half of 2021, we expect to see a renewed focus on mobility: charging solutions for phones, thin and light PCs, and the build out of 5G, as consumers begin to return to a more ‘normal’ life,” said Mr. Baker. “We also expect previously less important trends, like improved in-home connectivity, home based work and education, the growing number of screens to enable content consumption, and connected video capabilities in the home, to take hold more permanently as a result of the pandemic.”
This week’s CES event will showcase a number of high-tech masks, smart air purifiers and UV-C-germ killing devices as well as items to support at-home work and entertainment needs due to the pandemic.
- NPD Forecast: Historic U.S. Consumer Technology Sales in 2020 Set the Stage for Long-Term Industry Expansion – The NPD Group/PRWeb
- CES 2021: The World’s Largest Tech Show Trades Las Vegas for Cyberspace – The Wall Street Journal
- Here’s What’s Next For Gadgets In 2020 – The Verge
- CES 2021 trends: Top 6 things we expect to see at the all-virtual show – CNET
- What to Expect From the First-Ever Virtual CES – Wired
DISCUSSION QUESTIONS: How do you see the pandemic influencing consumer electronics trends this year and in the years ahead? What tech innovations are you most excited about seeing?