Consumer device market will drive ‘explosive’ growth post-pandemic

Despite the mass disruption to production lines and supply chains caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, consumer technology devices remained remarkably resilient, and the home networking device market saw shipments accelerate in 2020, according to tech market advisory firm ABI Research.

Consumer technology devices include such as 5G smartphones, video streaming devices, and voice control smart home devices.

In its latest Consumer Technologies service report, ABI Research forecasts that consumer devices supporting ultra-wideband (UWB) connectivity, including cellular devices, smart home appliances, and automotive will reach approximately 286 million units in 2021. The report also finds that 1.15 billion 5G smartphones will ship in 2025 and the wearables and true wireless headsets market will see explosive growth, overcoming 1 billion shipments in 2025.

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“Consumer technology device shipments will gradually recover in 2021 as the impact of the pandemic starts to wane, consumer confidence returns, and device supply chains bounce back to near- pre-COVID levels. Notably, ultralow-power Machine Learning (ML) chipsets and devices supporting ultra-wideband (UWB) are among the major consumer technologies that will take-off this year,” said Khin Sandi Lynn, Industry Analyst at ABI Research.

5G smartphone sector

While the total smartphone market saw 8.5% shipments decline in 2020, significant growth was witnessed in the 5G smartphones sector.

“This is due to the diverse availability of 5G smartphone models and the rapid push to the lower-priced 5G smartphones segment, which will continue to accelerate adoption in 2021 and beyond,” Lynn said.

ABI Research forecasts that the 5G smartphone market will grow at a compound annual growth of 43% to surpass 1,150 million units in 2025, accounting for 73% of all smartphone sales.

“At the same time, the wearables and true wireless headsets market will see explosive growth in the next five years, overcoming 1 billion shipments in 2025. These devices are evolving from simple smartphone accessories to whole digital platforms, providing personalized and high-quality experiences that empower user’s daily activities,” said Lynn.


Demand for wireless connectivity in the consumer devices market, including products such as Wi-Fi routers, wireless hotspots, gateways, and Wi-Fi CPE also increased rapidly in 2020, owing to the impact of the pandemic and an essential need to facilitate more home-based working and learning and the higher adoption and consumption of live and on-demand video streaming services and online gaming.

“Edge processing will further expand beyond image and language processing to deliver not just faster responses but also greater privacy, device functionality, and management in smart home devices. The demand for voice control front-end devices will remain strong too,” Lynn adds.

According to ABI Research, the consumer technology market is starting to shift from being device-centric to one that is experience-focused. Cloud services and the range of internet-connected content and apps, increase the value of available personal consumer devices and smart home appliances and drive purchase decisions.

“Consequently, consumer electronics and device vendors need to build ecosystems that offer consumers flexibility and seamless experiences, combining hardware quality, platform-agnostic content, and cloud services,” said Eleftheria Kouri, research analyst at ABI Research.