Record-Breaking Year ahead for CE Industry: CEA

Record-Breaking Year ahead for CE Industry: CEA

Revenues to Reach $223.2 Billion


Las Vegas, NV—Revenues for the consumer electronics (CE) industry are projected to grow 3% in 2015. Furthermore, they will reach an all-time high of $223.2 billion. This is according to The U.S. Consumer Electronics Sales and Forecasts, a semiannual industry report released by the Consumer Electronics Association (CEA).

The total revenues forecast was announced by CEA’s president and CEO, Gary Shapiro, during his opening remarks at the 2015 International CES in Las Vegas, Nevada. CEA’s consensus forecast reflects U.S. factory sales to dealers and covers more than 100 CE products. The twice-annual report serves as a benchmark for the CE industry, charting the size and growth of underlying categories.

Emerging Products

According to CEA’s 2015 forecast, “revenue for new, emerging product categories is expected to double. It’s projected to grow 108% year over year in 2015.”

These new technology categories include 3D printers, 4K Ultra High-Definition televisions. They also connected thermostats and unmanned systems (unmanned aerial vehicles, unmanned vehicles and home robots). Rounding these products out are IP cameras and wearables such as fitness devices, smartwatches and smart eyewear.

While the emerging product categories represent less than 5% of the entire CE industry revenue forecast, they are expected to contribute almost $11 billion to overall CE revenue in 2015.

“Our forecast underscores that consumers’ love affair with technology shows no signs of slowing any time soon,” said Shapiro. “Consumer technology is all about continued innovation. In the blink of an eye, consumer demand has taken off for emerging categories such as wearables, unmanned aerial vehicles and 4K Ultra HD—categories that were too small to track just three years ago.”


The wearable device revolution is a key category to watch in the coming years, and especially in 2015. CEA projects overall wearable unit sales will reach 30.9 million units (a 61% increase from last year). And its projected to generate $5.1 billion in revenue in 2015 (up 133%). CEA’s wearables category encompasses fitness activity bands and other health and fitness devices, as well as smartwatches and smart eyewear.

Smartphones and Tablets

Sales of smartphones and tablets will continue as the top two revenue drivers of the CE industry in 2015. According to CEA, they represent “34.1% of the total CE industry revenue. Although revenue growth for these categories has slowed as the category has matured, unit sales will continue to see increases.”

As the sales leader of the industry, smartphone unit shipments are projected to reach 169.3 million in 2015, an increase of 6%. Smartphone revenues are expected to generate $51.3 billion in 2015, up 5% over 2014. Growth was partially attributed to demand for larger screen sizes, between 5.3 and 6.5 inches.

Unit sales of tablets are projected to reach 80.7 million, which represents a 3% increase, while revenues will reach $24.9 billion this year, down 1%.

“Mobile connected devices have reached an equilibrium, stabilizing the steep climb these products have experienced in recent years,” said Shawn DuBravac, PhD, chief economist, CEA. “Overall, improving economic conditions, consumer enthusiasm for new features and product categories, competitive manufacturer pricing and several other dynamics now at play should make 2015 an especially significant year for tech.”

4K Ultra High-Definition Video

TV sales remain critical as the industry’s third largest contributor to revenue. Sales of TV sets and displays are projected to reach $18.3 billion in 2015, down 2% from 2014. CEA reports that market growth of 4K UHD TVs continues to perform better than expected in 2014. “Unit shipments of 4K UHD displays are projected to reach four million in 2015 (a 208% increase). Revenue from 4K UHD displays will exceed $5 billion in 2015, more than double its 2014 total (a 106% increase).

The takeaway for photo specialty retailers is an increasing number of categories that will appeal to photographers and imaging consumers in 2015; specifically, digital cameras and camcorders that record 4K UHD video content that can be viewed on the growing number of 4K UHD TVs. In addition, there are the increasingly popular categories of camera drones and 3D printers.

The U.S. Consumer Electronics Sales and Forecasts 2010–2015 (January 2015) is published twice a year, in January and July, reporting U.S. factory sales-to-dealers. It was designed and formulated by CEA. The complete report is available for free to CEA member companies at Nonmembers may purchase the study for $2,000 at the CEA Store.