The streaming wars are set to unleash a river of cash.
With major media companies entering the market, American consumer spending on subscription-video services will increase 29% in 2020, hitting an estimated $24.1 billion, according to the Consumer Technology Association’s sales and forecast study for the year.
The anticipated jump comes as streaming video providers like Netflix, Hulu and Amazon Prime Video have been joined by a squadron of new direct-to-consumer arrivals. Last November saw the debuts of Disney Plus and Apple TV Plus, while on deck for spring 2020 are WarnerMedia’s HBO Max, NBCUniversal’s Peacock and Quibi, the mobile-video startup led Jeffrey Katzenberg and Meg Whitman.
Streaming music also will be a high-growth segment in 2020, the CTA study predicts: On-demand music services including Spotify, Apple Music and Pandora will total $9 billion in revenue, up 15% from 2019, with room to grow as more and more consumers adopt smart speakers and wireless earbuds. Video game software and services revenue will climb 5%, to $38.3 billion this year, per CTA.
Overall, the CTA projects the U.S. consumer tech industry will hit a record $422 billion in retail revenues in 2020, up 3.9% year over year. The trade group released the report to kick off CES 2020, its annual consumer-electronics trade show in Las Vegas.
On the hardware side, the CTA cited the popularity of wireless earbuds, smart home devices and smart speakers as keeping sales steady amid the booming growth in streaming services. The trade group also sees the broader adoption of 5G connectivity and artificial intelligence (AI) as foundational technologies that will spur sales of consumer-electronics products.
Here’s a breakdown of the CTA study’s projections by hardware category:
- Smartphones: Revenue of $79 billion (up 3%) on shipments of 166 million units (up 2%), helped by the wider availability of 5G wireless networks. The forecast includes $15.3 billion for 5G smartphones, which are pegged to hit 20.3 million units sold in 2020.
- Laptops: Nearly 53 million laptops are forecast to ship in 2020, up 1% over last year, generating $33.3 billion in revenue (up 1%).
- TVs: Overall, manufacturers will ship 40.8 million television units in 2020 (2% increase) representing $23.4 billion in revenue (flat with 2019). In 2020, 4K Ultra HD sets will account for 25 million units (up 12%) and $17.6 billion in revenue (up 2%) while 8K UHD TVs will sell an estimated 504,000 units and represent $1.6 billion in revenue.
- In-Vehicle Tech: Factory-installed in-vehicle technology will grow by 6% to $18.5 billion in revenue in 2020, driven by autonomous safety and entertainment features in new car models.
- Wireless Earbuds: Devices such as Apple AirPods and Samsung Galaxy Buds will lead the category to nearly 67 million unit shipments in 2020 (+35%), earning $8.2 billion in revenue (+31%).
- Smart Home: Sales of products in the category — including smart doorbells and locks, Wi-Fi cameras, smart thermostats, smart smoke and carbon monoxide detectors, and smart home security kits — will reach $4.3 billion (+4%) with shipments of 35.2 million units (+15%).
- Smart Speakers: Unit sales of products like Google Home, Amazon Echo and Apple HomePod are projected to reach 39 million units (+5%) and $4.2 billion in revenue (+14%) in 2020.
- Digital Health: Sales of digital health devices — including smartwatches, fitness trackers and connected health monitoring devices such as blood pressure monitors and smart scales — will hit 64 million devices and total $10 billion dollars this year.
The CTA publishes its U.S. Consumer Technology Sales and Forecasts twice a year, in January and July, reporting factory sales to dealers. The trade group noted in announcing the study, “Any escalation in the trade dispute with China and expansion of tariffs would likely present significant headwinds to CTA’s forecast.”