LAS VEGAS — The Consumer Technology Association (CTA) expects U.S. 8K TV unit shipments to total only about 200,000 in 2019, but will steadily grow over the next three years and reach 1.5 million in 2022, according to Ben Arnold, its senior director of innovation and trends.
CTA predicted U.S. unit shipments of 8K TVs will more than double in 2020, to 500,000, and then increase to 1.2 million in 2021, he said Jan. 6, during the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) 2019 Trends to Watch Presentation.
Samsung is among several TV makers who will be touting new 8K TVs for the U.S. market at this year’s CES, through Jan. 11, Arnold noted. The arrival of 8K TVs comes as the average size of TVs overall continues to rise, he said. That’s due to a combination of “availability” and “affordability,” he told attendees. And when you look at the “sweet spot, where the visual experience is best seen” by viewers, “8K is perfect for a 65-inch set and larger,” he said, projecting 8K will start making up a significant percentage of TVs sold in those sizes.
Separately, CTA predicted unit sales of total digital displays in 2019 will dip 1% but remain just above 42 million units, with revenue inching up 2% to $22.6 billion. More than 75% of TV shipments will be models with 40-inch screens or larger, it predicted. Future upgrades will be driven by 4K TVs, which now make up more than 50% of all TV unit sales, it said. CTA predicted 4K UHD TV units will jump 14% in 2019 to 22 million units and grow 8% in revenue to $16.4 billion. Initial shipments of 8K TVs, meanwhile, are expected to generate $545 million in revenue, while “budding OLED shipments will reach 1.4 million sets with double digit growth through 2022,” CTA said.
The TV forecast was included in the latest edition of CTA’s semi-annual U.S. Consumer Technology Sales and Forecasts report, released before the official start of CES Jan. 8. Artificial intelligence (AI) and fast connectivity are “critical ingredients for the next era of category leaders such as smartphones, smart home devices and smart speakers,” and “will drive the U.S. consumer technology industry to a record-breaking $398 billion” in retail revenue ($301 billion wholesale) in 2019 and 3.9% year-over-year (YOY) growth, including streaming services revenue, CTA said in a news release announcing the report’s key estimates.
“We are fast approaching a new era of consumer tech,” Steve Koenig, CTA VP of market research said, adding the “Connected Age” is giving way to the “Data Age,” which is “fast approaching” and should be underway in 2020.
“So many of the trends and so many of the technologies that we’ve been talking about for years are finally becoming a reality,” Koenig said. For example, “we’ve finally got 8K TV – and not just in Japan,” along with the first commercial deployments of 5G and self-driving vehicles in the U.S. and elsewhere, he noted.
As they did at the CES Unveiled New York event in November, Arnold and Lesley Rohrbaugh, CTA director of market research, said the key technology trends at CES this time include 5G and AI. 5G announcements expected to take center stage at CES include new carrier initiatives, fixed wireless broadband and new 5G devices, Arnold said.
A growing number of smart home products continue to be introduced and more of those are expected to be unveiled at CES this time also, he said, predicting: “The next trend for smart home hardware is how do we get those devices to connect to each other.” After all, consumers are buying smart home devices from different brands that work on different platforms, and the main goal is to have all smart home devices working in conjunction with each other, he noted.
A growing number of smart home devices have digital assistant compatibility and intelligence, and AI plays a key role, Arnold said. Security cameras have already ushered in this new “era of intelligent imaging,” according to CTA.
AI will be on display throughout CES this time, Rohrbaugh said, adding the “three truths” about AI and voice – a key feature included in products and services using the technology – are: Digital assistants are being incorporated into “everything,” be they appliances, electronic devices or cars; support for digital assistants has become “table stakes” incorporating brands, commerce and services; and voice is quickly becoming the “go-to” interface and it’s having a major impact on smart home products, audio and video devices, and more products.
Amazon Alexa, meanwhile, now has nearly 60,000 skills and more than 20,000 devices are compatible with it now, according to CTA. But AI is being used in a wide variety of applications beyond just digital assistants and devices, Rohrbaugh said, noting IBM Watson has been using AI to perfect closed captioning for TV.