The Consumer Technology Association (CTA) has released its mid-year industry forecasts study predicting retail sales revenue for the U.S. tech industry will reach a record-breaking $487 billion by the end of the year, reflecting a 7.5% jump from a year ago.

The forecast is expecting “unprecedented consumer demand for tech related to work, school and lifestyle” in the period.

“The pandemic strengthened consumers’ relationship with technology forever,” said Gary Shapiro, president and CEO, CTA. “From working to learning, staying connected with loved ones and taking care of our health, tech played a crucial role in improving our lives. Tech has proved time and again that innovation makes our country resilient in the face of crises. Even though the U.S. still deals with supply chain shortages, labor gaps, vaccination rollouts and looming inflation, tech will help us keep pushing forward.”

Specifically, CTA said overall TV shipments will decline 4.2% to 45 million units, from 2020’s record 47 million units, but showing 5% revenue growth to $24 billion, reflecting high average product prices as shoppers move to better featured and larger screen models affording higher profit margins.

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“More than three-quarters of TVs shipped this year will be 4K UHD,” the CTA said. “With a majority of content consumption still happening indoors, consumer enthusiasm for large screen TVs is growing. LCD TVs with screen sizes 70-inches and up will reach 4.3 million in shipments, earning $4.4 billion, and 8K Ultra HD sets, which will see shipments climb to 2.6 million units in 2021, are expected to earn $5.7 billion (a 371% increase).”

As for televisions equipped with built in ASTC 3.0 tuners to receive new so-called NEXTGEN TV stateions, CTA said such models “will see shipments increase nearly sixfold to 2.1 million units with revenue of $3.9 billion, up 425%.”

This is a reflection that better featured models from major TV brands including Samsung, LG and Sony are now building in NEXTGEN TV tuning.

Meanwhile, CTA expects strong growth from the video gaming category, propelled by better availability of the two new advanced gaming consoles: Sony’s PlayStation 5 models and Microsoft’s Xbox Series X and S.

Console sales are coming off of 2020 when the industry enjoyed more than $5 billion in revenue from the category. The CTA predicts “consoles will see continued growth in 2021 as combined home and portable console shipments grow 6% to reach 19 million units while accounting for an 18% increase in revenue to $6 billion.

As for revenue from software and streaming services, CTA is expecting an 18% uptick in revenue from music, audio books and podcasts to $10 billion.

At the same time revenue growth from video streaming subscriptions will see 15% growth to $43 billion in 2021.

Revenue from gaming service, which is coming off a record 25% increase in 2020, should see a slight decline reaching $48 billion, down 2% from last year, CTA believes.

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By Greg Tarr

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