i3 | March 29, 2022

Consumer Tech Revenues to Surpass $500 Billion

Kyle Wandel
Different pieces of technology

The industry continues to develop new products and diversify offerings.

Consumer technology is playing an enormous role in helping people adapt to ever-changing conditions during the pandemic. Technology has demonstrated its ability to keep people connected and engaged with families, friends, schools and workplaces. As the economy began to open back up in 2021, tech was top-of-mind for consumers as they sought upgrades to devices they already owned or explored new products to help around the home.

The industry is on track to surpass an important milestone this year, growing 3% to $505 billion in retail value in 2022. Crossing the half-trillion-dollar mark comes after a stellar 2021 in which revenues grew nearly 10%. But technology remains in high demand in many aspects of life, and the industry continues to develop new products and diversify offerings to attract new customers.

Five 2022 Forecasts

Below are five hardware products that are projected to generate the most revenues for 2022.

1. After a steep 17% revenue decline in 2020, smartphones should expect growth once again. A 15% revenue rise in 2021 was encouraged by 5G upgrades and aggressive promotions from service providers. 2022 will bring an additional 5% revenue growth — not enough to bring revenues above pre-pandemic levels, but enough to significantly grow 5G adoption. Foldable phone options will also expand this year, offering consumers a new form factor.

2. Although they will see an 8% revenue decline in 2022, notebook PCs will carry a significant portion of the industry’s hardware revenue (14%). Notebooks proved to be one of the most in-demand pandemic technologies, and they will remain the top-selling computing product in America due to their versatility. Over the next several years, demand will increase as educational institutions invest more in computing hardware for students.

3. The automotive sector was the unfortunate canary in the coal mine when it came to the semiconductor shortage. After a precipitous drop in production in 2020, automotive manufacturers spent 2021 getting back on track to normal production levels while demand surged. While it may be until 2023 before the sector fully recovers, 2022 will see a return to growth in factory-installed automotive tech, including sensors involved in advanced driving assistance systems and the audio/video equipment for in-vehicle entertainment.

4. The television industry continues to revolve around LCD while OLED focuses on larger, premium sets. LCD TVs have made improvements on picture quality through the addition of HDR (by way of 4K), mini-LED backlighting, AI picture-enhancements and bigger screens. Although the surge in TV sales in 2020-2021 will trigger declines in replacement purchases in the coming years, LCD TVs will remain in the top five for the time being, due to its importance in American households.

5. Tablets still hold a place in consumer technology history as one of the fastest-adopted technologies of all time. With 51 million units expected to ship in 2022, it remains a popular device despite increasing pressure from laptops, which have assumed many tablet-like-features over the past few years. The line between tablets and laptops continues to blur, especially as laptop manufacturers eye always-on ARM architectures. Regardless of how they are categorized, tablets will remain a key computing device for many years to come.

Looking Ahead

2022 will not be without its challenges, as the industry copes with supply chain bottlenecks, chip shortages and whatever hurdles COVID will present. While some categories will see inevitable declines after experiencing all-time records set in the past two years, other categories will experience growth as they recover from lows during the pandemic. 

Display Terms

AI: Artificial intelligence

HDR: High dynamic range

LCD: Liquid crystal display

LED: Light-emitting diode

OLED: Organic light-emitting diode

i3 magazine March/April 2022 cover

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