Global tech sales forecast to fall again, but U.S. expected to buck trend

Global tech sales forecast to fall again, but U.S. expected to buck trend

LAS VEGAS — Global consumer electronics sales will fall for the fourth straight year in 2017, thanks largely to slowing sales of major products like smartphones, televisions and computers, the Consumer Technology Association forecast on Tuesday.

The expected drop in worldwide sales, announced as the tech industry prepares to officially kick off its annual CES conference here on Thursday, will come despite an expected uptick in electronics sales in the United States. While older product categories are dragging down global sales, newer products like smart home devices and 4K televisions are helping to boost sales in the United States.

Even though global electronics sales are expected to fall, “there’s lots to be excited about and encouraged about,” Steve Koenig, the technology association’s senior director of market research, said at a pre-CES press briefing on Tuesday.

Consumers will spend some $929 billion worldwide this year on tech products, according to the CTA’s estimates, which it put together with research group GfK. That would be down from the estimated $950 billion that global consumers spent in 2016, CTA said.

Global electronics sales peaked in 2013 at $1.045 trillion and have been falling ever since.

Much of the decline has come from slowing demand for the industry’s big products. Smartphones, for example, will account for about 47 percent of all consumer technology spending worldwide this year, CTA and GfK forecast. But the organizations expect consumer spending on smartphones to be basically flat this year, coming in at $432 billion, compared with $431 billion last year.

Meanwhile, CTA and GfK expect global sales of televisions to fall 3 percent this year to $102 billion after being down 11 percent last year. And they forecast worldwide PC and tablet sales combined to drop 5 percent to $195 billion.

The organizations expect other factors to also weigh on global tech sales. CTA and GfK make their sales estimates in dollars. If the dollar appreciates against other currencies — which it has — it can decrease dollar value of foreign sales.

But it’s not just currency effects that are keeping consumer electronics sales in check. China’s growth is slowing and much of the rest of the world is struggling economically. As a result, the organizations forecast that tech sales will decline in most of the major regions of the world.

The North American region isn’t expected to buck that trend, but the United States will, CTA forecasts. Consumer electronics sales here are expected to grow 1.5 percent to $292 billion this year, CTA said in a statement. While the slowing growth of major product categories is affecting U.S. sales as well, U.S. consumers have been quick to adopt new types of products.

U.S. sales of smart home products, including things like smart thermostats and connected security cameras, will grow 57 percent this year from 2016 to $3.5 billion, CTA estimated. Virtual reality and augmented reality headsets will hit $660 million in the United States this year, up 43 percent from last year. And U.S. sales of 4K televisions will hit $14.6 billion, up 38 percent year-over-year.

“I expect 2017 to be a year where many of these emerging tech categories find their footing and really take off,” Shawn DuBravac, the CTA’s chief economist, said in the statement.

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Published at Wed, 04 Jan 2017 01:46:59 +0000