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Gadgets come and gadgets go. While some live up to the hype, many just fade away and are forgotten. Technology moves on at such a rapid pace that it’s sometimes hard to determine exactly how big the next big thing will be.
The Consumer Technology Association (CTA) records factory sales to dealers of over 300 consumer tech products, software and services in the United States. It predicts that revenue from US consumer tech industry retail sales will reach a record $377 billion in 2018, a 6% increase on the previous year.
So, which emerging products are driving the US market?
Televisions are by far the biggest money-makers among emerging consumer tech, with sales of 4K ultra-high-definition (UHD) models expected to reach 18.6 million units in 2018. The sector is set to generate a year-on-year revenue increase of 7%, totalling $14.3 billion.
As the "internet of things" and other products driven by artificial intelligence continue to influence the tech market, sales of smart products are set to grow rapidly in the coming years. Gary Shapiro, CTA president and CEO, explains: “Innovations in AI, voice and connectivity are making tech devices more helpful and versatile, and changing our lives for the better.”
Smart speakers are projected to make the biggest market gains with forecast sales of 39.2 million units after just three years on the market. Revenues are set to increase 64% on the previous year.
The smart home sector is also booming. Growing consumer demand for internet-connected thermostats, smoke and carbon monoxide detectors, IP/wifi cameras, locks, doorbells, home systems and switches saw expected revenues for this sector rise by 36%.
Revenues for drones and virtual reality headsets are each expected to surpass the $1 billion mark for the first time in 2018.