Consumer demand and new tech supply are driving growth, says trade group.
Jumping 7.5% in a single year, retail revenue for U.S. tech will reach an all-time high of $487 billion in 2021, driven by surging consumer demand for tech related to work, school, and lifestyles, according to a report released by the Consumer Technology Association (CTA)®.
"The pandemic strengthened consumers' relationship with technology forever," says Gary Shapiro, president and CEO at CTA. "From working to learning, staying connected with loved ones and taking care of our health, tech played a crucial role in improving our lives. Tech has proved time and again that innovation makes our country resilient in the face of crises. Even though the U.S. still deals with supply chain shortages, labor gaps, vaccination rollouts and looming inflation, tech will help us keep pushing forward."
The CTA U.S. Consumer Technology One-Year Industry Forecast, released two times annually, represents U.S. manufacturer shipments in more than 100 consumer tech product categories, as well as associated software and services.
CTA expects more than 106 million 5G smartphones to ship in 2021, up 530% from 2020. This increase will generate $61 billion in revenue, a 404% increase. Shipments of smartphones overall will increase 10% to 154 million units, earning $73 billion in revenue, up 15%.
Spurred by Americans' continued working from home, laptops shipments will reach 76 million units (up 9%), earning $45 billion in revenue (up 11%).
CTA's report now includes connected exercise equipment such as stationary bikes, rowers, and treadmills. With demand for products such as Peloton and MYX Fitness soaring, approximately 1.5 million units were shipped in 2020, and in 2021 the devices will cross 2 million (a 43% rise) and earn $3.9 billion (a 40% increase).
Shipments of health monitoring devices connected to the internet, such as smart thermometers, pulse oximeters, and blood pressure monitors, will grow to 13 million units (up 23%) and earn $740 million in revenue (a 17% increase). Total revenue of health and fitness tech will reach $13 billion in 2021, representing a 12% growth over last year. Smart watches will grow 8% in unit shipments.
Personal mobility, which CTA defines as including battery-powered bicycles and scooters, is one of the fastest growing categories in the CTA forecast. CTA estimates a total of 1.2 million e-bikes will ship in 2021 (up 15%), earning $1.9 billion in revenue (a 3% jump).
Smart speakers and home robot products will drive 100 million smart home devices to ship in 2021 (up 11%), holding flat on revenue, with $15 billion, CTA reports.
Growth also continues in audio services, video streaming, gaming consoles, televisions, virtual reality and augmented technology, and electronic toys, CTA adds.
Scott Mace is a contributing writer for HealthLeaders.