i3 | January 25, 2022

2022 Trends to Watch: The Data Behind the Tech

Rick Kowalski
Bar and line graph

By the Numbers

What better way to begin the new year than by predicting how technology will evolve in the 12 months ahead? The perfect place to do this is at CES, where the industry’s thought leaders will discuss the latest trends and buzzwords that will shape the technology landscape in 2022. What are the numbers behind those trends? Let’s take a look:

5G Connectivity

Faster download speeds are only one benefit of the latest generation of cellular technology. 5G also promises lower latency and it will accommodate a greater number of devices simultaneously. For consumers, 5G will be top of mind when they upgrade to the latest smartphone models in 2022. Seventy three percent of the 154 million smartphones expected to ship this year will be 5G-enabled, according to CTA’s U.S. Consumer Technology One-Year Industry Forecast. (January 2022)

Wireless service providers are expanding service to more consumer devices, especially tablets, laptops and smartwatches. Selling cellular plans for additional devices has been challenging in the past though now it might be a highly convenient proposition to business travelers and commuters that need network connectivity in places where Wi-Fi is sparse or where security is a concern. Furthermore, 5G will be increasingly used in commercial settings where connected machines, sensors and infrastructure will enable real-time monitoring of business processes.

Artificial intelligence

While artificial intelligence (AI) has been receiving a lot of attention lately, it is important to realize that AI technologies are already present in everyday technologies. Consumers have been conversing with digital assistants for several years, tapping the power of natural language processing. Between smartphones, smart speakers and PCs alone, there are over 700 million digital assistant-enabled devices in American households, according to CTA’s 23rd annual Consumer Technology Ownership & Market Potential Study.

But AI technologies such as image processing and pattern recognition are increasingly being used in a variety of devices. In consumer devices, watch for AI in smartphones, TVs, PC chips and wearables. There will also be much discussion about AI in self-driving vehicles, industrial processes and enterprise software.


Car manufacturers at CES will be talking about their progress on autonomous vehicles. While self-driving cars remain a long-term vision, advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS) are widely available in cars today; over 90% of new vehicles available in the U.S. have adaptive cruise control, automatic emergency braking or lane centering, according to CTA’s bi-annual U.S. Consumer Technology One-Year Industry Forecast, 2017-2022 (July 2021). These are the building blocks for more automated systems, such as Tesla’s Autopilot or GM’s Super Cruise, that will take over the driving task for particular situations such as traffic jams and highway traffic. ADAS features, combined with other in-vehicle entertainment and navigation devices, represent a large market for electronics manufacturers. Factory-installed technologies in new vehicles in the U.S. will represent $16 billion in wholesale revenues in 2022.

In consumer devices, watch for AI in smartphones, TVs, PC chips and wearables.

Digital Health

Engineers continue to develop sensor technologies that are allowing consumers and medical professionals to monitor and track human vitals of all sorts. Smart-watches, which will see 29 million units shipped this year, are accumulating more sensors with every generation, and are helping individuals better understand their health and fitness activities. Meanwhile, connected health monitoring devices, such as blood pressure and blood glucose monitors, are offering people with chronic conditions better ways to track their conditions. Over 15 million connected health monitoring devices will ship this year.


The metaverse is a recently popularized buzzword that encapsulates the tech industry’s vision of the next phase of internet technologies. While there are many opinions on the matter, a common theme is that the metaverse will provide immersive experiences that blend the virtual world with the physical world. It will likely involve virtual events, objects and currencies combined with real-world people, places and activities. The four million augmented and virtual reality headsets shipping into the U.S. market in 2022 will enable some of the metaverse’s earliest pioneers to build and experience what it has to offer.

Whether you’re in the metaverse or the real world, here’s to exploring new technology in the year ahead!

For the latest forecasts, please visit: shop.cta.tech/research.

5g smartphone graph

5g Smartphones

Percentage of total U.S. smartphone shipments


  • 2021: 62%
  • 2022: 73%

ARVR headset graph

Augmented Reality/Virtual Reality Headsets
Shipments to U.S. (Millions)
2020: 2.2 | 2021: 2.5 | 2022p: 4.0 | 2023p: 6.0 | 2024p: 8.0 | 2025p: 13.2

i3 magazine January/February 2022 cover

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