CTA: HDR is Boosting 4KTV Sales This Year

WASHINGTON—All signs point to “yes” with regard to high dynamic range, the television technology that renders whiter whites, and more details in the dark. HDR is helping elevate 4KTV shipments to possibly twice the level of last year, according to the mid-year forecast from Consumer Technology Association, having replaced its “Electronics” with “Technology.”

Accordingly, the CTA said, “2016 will be a flagship year for 4K UHD TVs, driven in part by the market introduction of next-generation technologies like HDR. CTA expects shipments of 4K UHD displays will reach 15 million units—a 105 percent increase—and revenue will exceed $12.9 billion, a 69 percent increase. New to the market in 2016, 4K UHD Blu-ray players will further build the 4K UHD ecosystem with 700,000 units sold and $63 million in revenue.”

In the overall consumer electronics realm, the television set market is considered a “maturing” segment, and is expected to “remain on par with 2015” with estimated unit sales of 39.7 million, or one percent down from last year; and revenues of $20 billion, a 3 percent increase from 2015. LCD TVs make up the bulk of all new TVs sold and will contribute 38.8 million unit $19.2 billion in revenues.

Of the big five consumer tech categories—smartphones, tablets, TVs, laptops and desktops—only smartphones are expected to generate more revenues than television sets. Smartphones, also a maturing category, are expected to reach unit shipments of 183 million, up 5 percent from last year, with revenues of $55 billion, up four percent. Because fewer people are replacing their phones every two years, the CTA predicts that 2017 will be the first year revenues from smartphone sales will decline.

Tablets are waning after five years of growth. Unit shipments are expected to fall 2 percent to 65 million, with revenues down 5 percent to $19 billion. Laptop shipments are pegged to drop 6 percent to 25 million, with revenues down 8 percent to $15.8 billion. Desktops are free-falling to a 13 percent decline on 7 million units shipped, with revenues down 15 percent to $4.6 billion.

Among newbie categories, drones are kicking it. Drone sales are expected to reach a record high of 2.4 million units, up 112 percent from 2015; and $799 million in shipment revenues—an 80 percent increase from 2015.

Virtual reality is another emerging CE category. VR headsets are looking at a 296 percent increase with 800,000 units sold for $432 million, up 332 percent from last year.

CTA added voice-activated digital assistants such as the Amazon Echo this year. Sales are projected to reach 2.2 million units—up 32 percent—in 2016 and earn $392 million in revenue, up 32 percent.

3D printing is another CE category gaining traction. The sector’s unit sales are expected to increase 56 percent to reach 171,000. Total revenues will reach $148 million, a 35 percent increase.

Sales of wearable technology, particularly fitness activity trackers, are forecast to reach almost 48 million units, up 39 percent. Of those 28 million are expected to be fitness trackers, with revenues of $2.2 billion, up 62 percent.

CTA projects the smart home category—including smart thermostats, smart smoke and CO2 detectors, IP/Wi-Fi cameras, smart locks, smart home systems, and smart switches, dimmers and outlets—to reach 9.5 million units sold, a 29 percent increase. Revenue will grow 24 percent to $1.3 billion.

The overall U.S. consumer electronics market is expected to reach $286.6 billion in retail revenues for 2016, according to the CTA’s semi-annual forecast, “U.S. Consumer Technology Sales and Forecasts.”