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Huge growth expected for consumer device market

By Catherine Knowles, Thu 18 Mar 2021

The consumer device market is set for huge growth following the fallout of the COVID-19 pandemic, according to a new report from global tech market advisory firm ABI Research.

The report states that despite the mass disruption to production lines and supply chains caused by COVID-19, consumer devices such as 5G smartphones, video streaming devices, and voice control smart home devices remained remarkably resilient, and the home networking device market saw shipments accelerate in 2020.

The report also forecasts that consumer devices supporting ultra-wideband (UWB) connectivity, including cellular devices, smart home appliances and automotive will reach approximately 286 million units in 2021.

The report finds that 1.15 billion 5G smartphones will ship in 2025 and the wearables and true wireless headsets market will see explosive growth, overcoming 1 billion shipments in 2025.

ABI Research industry analyst Khin Sandi Lynn says, “Consumer technology device shipments will gradually recover in 2021 as the impact of the pandemic starts to wane, consumer confidence returns, and device supply chains bounce back to near- pre-COVID levels.

"Notably, ultra low power machine learning (ML) chipsets and devices supporting UWB are among the major consumer technologies that will take-off this year.”

While the total smartphone market saw 8.5% shipments decline in 2020, significant growth was witnessed in the 5G smartphones sector, the report states.

Lynn says, “This is due to the diverse availability of 5G smartphone models and the rapid push to the lower-priced 5G smartphones segment, which will continue to accelerate adoption in 2021 and beyond.”

ABI Research also forecasts that the 5G smartphone market will grow at a CAGR of 43% to surpass 1,150 million units in 2025, accounting for 73% of all smartphone sales.

Lynn says, “At the same time, the wearables and true wireless headsets market will see explosive growth in the next 5 years, overcoming 1 billion shipments in 2025.

"These devices are evolving from simple smartphone accessories to whole digital platforms, providing personalised and high-quality experiences that empower user’s daily activities.”

Demand for wireless connectivity in the consumer devices market, including products such as Wi-Fi routers, wireless hotspots, gateways, and Wi-Fi CPE also increased rapidly in 2020.

This is due to the impact of the pandemic and an essential need to facilitate more home-based working and learning, as well as the higher adoption and consumption of live or on-demand video streaming services and online gaming.

Lynn adds, “Edge processing will further expand beyond image and language processing to deliver not just faster responses but also greater privacy, device functionality, and management in smart home devices.

"The demand for voice control front-end devices will remain strong too.”

Ultimately, the consumer technology market is starting to shift from being device-centric to one that is experience-focused, according to the report.

Cloud services and the range of internet-connected content and apps, increase the value of available personal consumer devices and smart home appliances and drive purchase decisions.

ABI Research research analyst Eleftheria Kouri concludes, “Consequently, consumer electronics and device vendors need to build ecosystems that offer consumers flexibility and seamless experiences, combining hardware quality, platform-agnostic content, and cloud services."

These findings are from ABI Research’s Consumer Technologies market data report. This report is part of the company’s new Consumer Technologies service, which includes research, data, and ABI Insights.

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