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Consumer spending on music and video streaming services, including Netflix, Hulu, Sling TV, Spotify, and Pandora, is projected to reach $19.5 billion this year, according to a new report from the Consumer Technology Association (CTA).

This figure marks a 35 percent jump over 2017, CTA said as it released the study just ahead of CES taking place in Las Vegas this week.  

Overall, the U.S. consumer technology industry is poised to hit a record $351 billion in retail revenues in 2018, a 3.9 percent increase from 2017, CTA found in its semi-annual U.S. Consumer Technology Sales and Forecasts report.

CTA broke down which emerging technologies are expected to contribute significantly to a 6.6 percent increase in U.S. connected device sales year-over-year to hit 715 million units in 2018.

  • Smart Speakers: Unit sales of voice-controlled smart speakers, including the likes of Amazon Echo and Google Home soared in 2017, experiencing a 279 percent increase. CTA projects 2018 sales of 43.6 million units will fuel a 93 percent growth in revenue to reach $3.8 billion.
  • Smart Home: The proliferation of smart home devices will push unit sales, including smart thermostats, smart smoke and carbon monoxide detectors, smart locks and doorbells, smart home systems, smart switches, and connected cameras to jump 41 percent, reaching 40.8 million units in 2018 and driving $4.5 billion in revenue.
  • Virtual Reality: Virtual reality and augmented reality headsets and eyewear will gain traction, with unit shipments forecast to grow to 4.9 million this year, a 25 percent increase, earning $1.8 billion in revenues, CTA said.
  • Drones: CTA projects total drone sales will increase 20 percent in 2018 to record high of 3.7 million units, earning $1.2 billion in revenue (up 17 percent). Drones below 250 grams will reach just over 2.2 million units this year, while drones above 250 grams will hit 1.5 million units shipped.

"Consumers are rapidly adopting new, emerging technology products - with voice-activated smart speakers as the stand-out of 2017 and 2018 - sparking growth in smart home devices, as voice interaction adds a new level of convenience and excitement to our lives," Brian Markwalter, SVP of research and standards at CTA, said in a statement.   

As for “maturing technologies,” 2018 is set to be a milestone year for TVs, according to CTA, which found for the first time 4K UHD TVs will account for half of all total digital displays. Unit sales of 4K TVs are forecast to jump 27 percent to 22 million units, and generate $15.9 billion in revenue, up 14 percent from 2017.

Sales of digital displays overall are expected to reach 44.2 million units this year, up 2 percent, and generate $22.1 billion in revenue (2 percent increase).

"Technology is improving our lives in more ways than ever - and consumer enthusiasm is growing just as quickly as companies can bring their innovations to market," Gary Shapiro, president and CEO of CTA, said. "Our forecast incorporates several key economic factors including a strong stock market, continued job growth and stable rules for international trade to forecast these record-setting sales for breakthrough technologies and longtime market leaders alike. And the driving themes of 2018, including voice computing, artificial intelligence and connectivity that make our lives better and more efficient, will be on display across the show floor this week at CES 2018."

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