Jan 6, 2016 | By Benedict

A Sales & Forecasts report from the Consumer Technology Association (CTA) has predicted a record-setting $287 billion in 2016 retail revenues for the U.S. consumer technology industry. The 3D printing industry, predicted total revenues of $152 million, has been listed as a “Tech Sector to Watch”.

As the technology industry looks over its shoulder at a 2015 packed with exciting new developments, such as the surge of interest in drones, wearable technology and virtual reality systems, now is the time for companies to capitalize on that generated interest by delivering high quality products to a clearly engaged consumer base. A new report from the CTA predicts companies to do just that, foreseeing no signs of the tech bubble bursting.

The CTA has predicted a prosperous 2016 for the colossal U.S. technology industry, thanks to the ever-widening circle of interconnected innovations comprising the Internet of Things (IoT). The recently published U.S. Consumer Technology Sales and Forecasts report forecasts continuing consumer interest in smartphones, televisions and laptops, as well as a dramatic rise in sales of drones, virtual reality headsets and wearable technology. Despite some uncertainty surrounding its major players, the 3D printing industry is also predicted to see significant growth.

The figures attributed to the 3D printing industry are less eye-catching than those attributed to the drone and VR markets, but will still come as a breath of fresh air to the industry and its swathe of hopeful companies, large and small. The CTA report estimates a 64% increase in 3D printer sales from 2015, to reach 179,000 units sold. Total revenues are forecast at $152 million, representing a 38% increase. As the novelty factor of 3D printing begins to wear off, 2016 may bring an increased emphasis on high-quality machines and materials, enabling the industry to deliver on its initial promise across a wide range of fields and applications.

The report emphasizes the key role played by the Internet of Things, the connected network of electronic objects involved in a constant exchange of data, in driving the technology industry forward. The integration of new technology into existing systems supports the capacity for innovation, whilst offering customers relatively low-risk investments. IoT connectivity has driven the success of Smart TVs, wireless headphones and speakers in the video and audio sectors, whilst smart home technology such as smart smoke detectors, smart locks and IP/Wi-Fi cameras are all set to take off in the following year. Wearable technology is another sector set for expansion, with 38.4 million units set to be sold.

Images from CTA

“2016 will be another great year for consumers,” said Gary Shapiro, president and CEO of the CTA. “As more products become connected, we’ll be able to manage our lives in ways that weren’t possible even just a few years ago. The exponential growth of the IoT and the lightning-fast speed of innovation are key reasons we’ll see such strong growth across so many tech categories. Highly sophisticated technology is becoming more affordable and accessible – improving our safety, productivity and entertainment.”

“We are at a time when new tech categories can come out of seemingly nowhere and lead to disruption in the blink of an eye,” added Shawn DuBravac, Ph.D., chief economist and senior director of research at CTA. “Digitization is rapidly changing the landscape of our daily lives, and consumers are clearly choosing to infuse tech in all facets of their lives. As economic fundamentals improve – a strengthened labor market, solid consumer spending, lower energy prices – the tech industry’s bottom line will continue to surpass record unit and revenue levels in 2016.”

The CTA forecast will be music to the ears of many 3D printing companies, but much work must be done to ensure that all targets are met. The next report, to be published in July 2016, may be telling.



Posted in 3D Printing Technology



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