The electronics sector is typically divided between consumer electronics, electric utilities, and general electronics. Consumer electronics drive most of the growth in the sector, however. While the electronics sector is expected to grow between 2% and 5% in 2018, depending on the geographical region, consumer electronics in the U.S. is on track to grow over 6%.
A few main drivers of future consumer electronics growth include rising demand for smartphones, artificial intelligence and voice recognition technology, and the replacement cycles and dropping prices of many electronics devices to encourage continued consumption.
Predictions from Consumer Electronics Association
The Consumer Electronics Association (CEA) is the leading voice in electronics sector forecasting. In January 2018, the CEA predicted consumer electronics retail revenue would be $351 billion, a 3.9% increase over 2017. By July 2018, the CEA had raised its expectations to $377 billion in retail revenue for consumer electronics.
Product differentiation and development is a significant driver of change in the electronics sector. In addition to artificial intelligence and voice recognition, other products adding to the continued growth include wearables (e.g. smart watches), smart speakers, home automation, connectivity technology and drones.
Less well-known than consumer electronics is the semiconductor industry, which is also part of the electronics sector. The Semiconductor Applications Forecaster from International Data Corporation shows an expected 7.7% growth in 2018, bringing revenues to $450 billion. One of the driving forces of this growth is the demand for driver assistance and autonomous driving features on vehicles in the automotive industry.
(For related reading, see "What Is the Electronics Sector?")