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5 Categories Set to Grow Consumer Electronics Biz to Record Levels in 2015

The consumer electronics industry is expected to enjoy a record year of sales in 2015, driven by a handful of categories, according to projections by the Consumer Electronics Assn.

The industry could generate an all-time high of $223.2 billion in the U.S. alone, the CEA said Tuesday, as the Consumer Electronics Show kicks off in Las Vegas and runs through Friday.

Emerging technologies — which the CEA says encompasses 3D printers, 4K ultra-high definition TVs, connected thermostats, drones and home robots, cameras and wearables — are expected to grow 108% in revenue this year. The category will represent less than 5% of the entire consumer electronics industry forecast, however, earning $11 billion.

“Our forecast underscores that consumers’ love affair with technology shows no signs of slowing any time soon,” said CEA president and CEO Gary Shapiro. “Consumer technology is all about continued innovation. In the blink of an eye, consumer demand has taken off for emerging categories such as wearables, unmanned aerial vehicles and 4K Ultra HD – categories that were too small to track just three years ago. Expect to see these burgeoning categories, as well as innovations across the full spectrum of consumer technology, on display this week at the 2015 International CES.”

Smartphones: The most popular consumer electronics category, smartphone unit shipments are projected to reach 169.3 million this year, up 6% over 2014, and generate $51.3 billion in 2015, a gain of 5%. The most popular devices will feature screen sizes between 5.3 and 6.5 inches.

4K Ultra High-Definition: Unit shipments of 4K UHD displays are projected to reach 4 million in 2015, up 208% over 2014, with revenue from such displays expected to exceed $5 billion in 2015, 106% more than last year. Larger screen sizes and smart TV features will have consumer upgrading their current displays, the CEA predicts.

TV sales remain critical as the industry’s third-largest contributor to total revenue, with sales of TV sets and displays projected to reach $18.3 billion in 2015, down 2% from 2014.

Tablets: An estimated 80.7 million tablets are expected to ship to retailers this year, up 3% from 2014. Revenues for tablets will reach $24.9 billion this year, down 1%.

Wearables: Health and fitness devices are expected to dominate the wearables market in 2015 with a projected 20 million units shipped to retailers, generating more than $1.8 billion in revenue in 2015. The overall wearable biz will see unit sales reach 30.9 million, up 61%, and generate revenue of $5.1 billion, a 133% increase. The sector includes fitness activity bands and other health and fitness devices, as well as smartwatches and smart eyewear.

Car Tech: Automotive electronics will see continued growth due to new vehicle sales in 2015, reaching revenue of $14 billion, up 3.3%.

CEA’s forecast reflects U.S. factory sales to dealers and covers more than 100 consumer electronics products. The twice-annual report serves as a benchmark for the industry.

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