U.S. consumers will spend a record amount on emerging tech such as smart speakers, smart home devices and smartwatches during the 2018 holiday season (Oct.-Dec.), says the Consumer Technology Association (CTA).U.S. consumers will spend a record amount on emerging tech such as smart speakers, smart home devices and smartwatches during the 2018 holiday season (Oct.-Dec.) while tech spending overall is projected to hit US$96.1 billion, according to the Consumer Technology Association (CTA).
Fueled by the popularity of voice technology, 36 percent of respondents plan to purchase a smart home product in 2018 like smart speakers, security cameras, smart lightbulbs and video door bells.
“Consumers are willing to spend a premium on technology that is essential to their everyday lives,” CTA senior director of innovation and trends Ben Arnold said, adding that among the key emerging categories to watch this holiday season are smart home devices that are powered by voice technology.
The CTA projects smart speakers such as Amazon Echo and Google Home will have another strong holiday season, selling an estimated 22 million units (up 44 percent over 2017). New for 2018 is the emergence of smart speakers with displays – six percent of overall shoppers plan to purchase a smart speaker with a screen and 12 percent plan to purchase a smart speaker without a screen.
Smart speaker sales in 2018 will total 39.2 million units, growing 44 percent from 2017, and the sales will increase another 13 percent in 2019, the CTA predicts.
Additionally, CTA research says smart speakers have nearly tripled in ownership rate, reaching 22 percent of American households in 2018. That makes smart speakers one of the fastest-adopted technologies since tablets.
The living room is the most common place consumers use their digital assistants (53 percent), followed by the bedroom (40 percent), kitchen (32 percent), in the vehicle (30 percent) and home office (20 percent).
Voice shopping continues to grow
Voice shopping has grown increasingly popular. "Voice shopping is still a nascent practice, but as brands add more commerce-related skills and capabilities to digital assistants, we expect more consumers to experiment with voice shopping. This will play out broadly during the 2018 holiday season," Arnold pointed out.
In 2017 it debuted as a fourth sales channel joining brick-and-mortar, online and mobile as methods of holiday shopping.
In 2018, almost a quarter of respondents plan to research products and sales via a digital assistant and 16 percent plan to make a purchase using voice technology. In 2019, up to 25 percent of adults are likely to make purchases using voice technology, the CTA predicted.
Among actual purchases via voice, the top product categories are food and groceries, followed by household supplies and consumer electronics.
More than half of respondents say they would purchase a product or service they have seen or ordered in the past (56 percent), while the fewest number of shoppers are willing to order a product they have never seen online or in-store (nine percent).
The kitchen is emerging as the next frontier for automation in the home. "As the third-most common room for smart speaker use, combined with food and groceries as a top category for voice purchases, it doesn't surprise me to see a growing number of voice-enabled small and major appliances,” Arnold said. “The kitchen is a chore-heavy room in the house, making it a perfect candidate for added efficiency and automation - a place where voice shopping will be especially useful.”