CTA Research Suggests Pandemic-Driven Tech Spending Trends Will Stay Strong

The Consumer Technology Association (CTA) says COVID-19 sped the adoption of health and wellness technologies and services, with 1 in 5 U.S. households using online health services for the first time.

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Consumer enthusiasm for technology products will increase in the next year, as 39% of U.S. households say they are more likely to buy tech products because of the COVID-19 pandemic, according to new research from the Consumer Technology Association (CTA).

CTA’s 23rd annual Consumer Technology Ownership & Market Potential Study also says U.S. consumer intent to buy tech products in the next 12 months is 11% higher than this time last year — with smartphones, videogame consoles and televisions helping drive the growth.

“More people now see tech as essential — not only for working and learning and connecting during the pandemic, but for changing our post-pandemic lives for the better,” says Steve Koenig, vice president of research, CTA.

“As we all adapted to life during the pandemic and tried new technologies, we discovered these innovations — streaming video, virtual meetings, telemedicine, contactless delivery — improved our everyday lives. Our latest research shows more consumers want the latest technology innovations to help them lead a happy and healthy 21st century lifestyle.”

CTA Data Shows Surge in Stay-At-Home Tech

2021 brought a milestone for the video game industry — more than half of U.S. homes (53%, up 10% from last year) now own a video game console. And 30% of households plan to buy one in the next 12 months — a 43% jump from 2020.

For the fourth straight year, smart speakers lead the smart home category — 41% of homes now own a smart speaker, and 23% plan to buy one in the next year. Smart appliances and smart doorbells (both at 26%) are the second-most frequently owned smart home tech.

Home entertainment systems are surging in popularity. TVs (91%), digital streaming devices and DVD/Blu-ray players (both at 55%) are the most-frequently owned products in the category — soundbars (36%, up six points) also show strong growth. For the first time, more than half of U.S. homes (52%) have a 4K Ultra HD TV — a 16-point increase from 2020, the largest growth for any product surveyed.

In another first, ownership of wireless earbuds (47%, up five points) now exceeds wired earbuds (45%, down eight points). Ownership of Bluetooth/wireless over-the-ear headphones also grew five points (46%).

Health and Wellness Trends Upward

The pandemic sped the adoption of health and wellness technologies and services. Since last March, 20% of U.S. households used online health services for the first time, and 20% plan to continue using them in the next year.

Twenty-five percent of U.S. homes now own air purifiers, 23% have smart or connected health monitoring devices and 19% have connected sports or fitness equipment (up seven points from 2020). Both smartwatches (35% ownership) and wearable activity fitness trackers (31%) showed year-over-year growth.

The most-frequently owned tech products in U.S. homes are once again TVs, but the second-most frequently owned tech products, smartphones (90%), may surpass TVs in 2022. Thirty-seven percent of consumers plan to buy smartphones in the next 12 months, while 29% of consumers plan to buy TVs.

The other top-five most-frequently owned products are notebooks or laptop computers (73%), portable device chargers (71%) and computer accessories such as a wireless keyboard or mouse (65%).

CTA’s 23rd annual Consumer Technology Ownership and Market Potential Study was administered as an online survey 2409 U.S. adults (18+) between April 9-18, 2021. It is designed and formulated by CTA Market Research.

The complete study is available for free for CTA member companies or purchase here.