PORT WASHINGTON, N.Y.—As CES comes to a close, The NPD Group has announced that 2021 was another record setting year for sales of consumer technologies, with revenue jumping 9% to nearly $127 billion.
But the research group, which tracks retail sales, is predicting slower demand consumer tech gear in the U.S. over the next few years, with revenue dropping by 5% in 2022, 4% in 2023 and 1% in 2024
Even so, total sales will remain above pre-pandemic levels, based on NPD’s most recent Future of Tech forecast of the U.S. CE industry.
“In the near-term we are anticipating slowing demand from the extraordinary rates we have been seeing over the last two years,” said Stephen Baker, vice president and industry advisor for NPD. “With such high levels of purchasing in 2020 and 2021 driven, in many cases, by pandemic lifestyle changes, we are seeing a larger, and younger, installed base for a number of devices. This will inevitably slow consumer needs in the immediate future for technology updates and upgrades.”
NDP also noted that a pre-pandemic trend towards higher prices will carry into the new year. Average selling prices (ASPs) will grow in 2022 for the fifth consecutive year. Overall unit pricing increases are expected to top $72, up $16 from 2018.
Last year ASP increases were in part the result of growing shipping costs and component shortages, but much of that was not felt until the second half of the year. Going forward NPD expects to see selling prices remain stable at this new, higher level due to the combination of strong demand for premium solutions and softening consumer needs for lower value device categories.
Despite the anticipated declines, NPD’s forecast indicates smart home will be an area of growth for the industry. In 2022 the category is expected to see unit growth of 6%, accompanied by 2% revenue gains, bringing total sales to over $4.1 billion. This will result from gains in security focused segments, including security cameras (up 2%), smart doorbells (up 13%), and smart locks (up 8%), as well as in segments more focused on convenience and energy savings, such as smart power (up 4%).
“Sales of smart home devices had a strong 2021 holiday season, and we are forecasting unit and dollar sales to continue growing through 2024,” said Ben Arnold, executive director and technology industry analyst for NPD. “Consumers are also focused on entertainment, which will result in sales growth for standalone VR headsets and big screen TVs (65-inches and above) through the forecast period. While VR offers a unique entertainment experience, growth in big screen TVs will continue from pre-pandemic trends towards larger screen sizes.”
Future of Tech forecasts and insights are based on forecasted sales of technology products captured in The NPD Group’s Retail Tracking Service point-of-sale data.
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George Winslow is the senior content producer for TV Tech. He has written about the television, media and technology industries for nearly 30 years for such publications as Broadcasting & Cable, Multichannel News and TV Tech. Over the years, he has edited a number of magazines, including Multichannel News International and World Screen, and moderated panels at such major industry events as NAB and MIP TV. He has published two books and dozens of encyclopedia articles on such subjects as the media, New York City history and economics.
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