Americans are buying a lot of TVs

By a wide margin, the television is the most popular and most used device for mass media consumption both in the United States and in the world. It is estimated that over 95.2% of households own a television, and more and more TVs are bought every day.

Surprisingly, even throughout the difficulties that many people around the country and around the world are facing, TVs are being purchased in 2020 at rates often higher than they were in years past, which is surprising considering how many people are financially struggling through the pandemic.

There have been major technological advances in the television industry, and the future looks bright for the many new advancements that are coming. Though COVID-19 has created some new supply chain disruptions, the industry continues to thrive with bustling competition and huge consumer interest.

Leading the Charge

Smart TVs are new, but they are the dominating television being sold today throughout the United States. As of now, Samsung and its operating system, Tizen, dominate the smart TV market in the United States; Samsung televisions make up 32% of smart TV sales in the country.

The next company with a large portion of the market share has less than half of that which Samsung has, which proves just how far ahead Samsung is when it comes to its domination of the market share.

The company currently coming in second in terms of market share is Chinese company TCL, which controls 14% of the market in sales revenue. TCL is known for its inexpensive televisions with the Roku operating system, but the company has also recently introduced a line of TVs that use the Android TV OS.

It will be interesting to watch competing operating systems as more and more become mainstream; consumers tend to stick with the same operating system that they have used in the past, so it will be interesting to see whether TCL customers who have bought systems with Roku in the past will purchase televisions with the Android operating system or if they will continue using Roku.

The Rise of the Smart TV

The smart TV is a far newer invention than some people might think; it seems like almost every mainstream television is a smart TV, but it hasn’t been that way for quite long. The smart TV was first invented in 2007, but it was extremely limited at that time.

There were not as many streaming companies back then, and even the internet had only been mainstreamed for less than a decade. The first smart TV had access to the internet but didn’t have all of the applications and technologies that now exist, given the fact that many of these service didn’t exist yet.

Quickly, companies transitioned to creating smart TVs, and come 2015 all major television companies produced only smart TVs. There are some companies that create budget models that don’t use smart technology, but these TVs are difficult to find in 2020.

For those who haven’t purchased a smart TV, some companies like Roku and Amazon have come out with devices that can be plugged in to normal TVs through an HDMI cord that then run their operating systems. This is a way that consumers can essentially transform normal televisions into smart TVs and enjoy the technology and streaming abilities.

New Technological Advancements

The technology that brought around the smart TV happened quickly, and new technological advances are happening extremely quickly as well. For example, the flat screen television is far flatter than the box TVs that many of us had as children, but it isn’t thin and light by any means. Now, companies are coming out with TVs that are extremely flat; there are some that are far more expensive but are essentially as flat as smartphones.

It also seems like just yesterday television companies were touting the improved screen resolution, as many producers made the switch from 1080p TVs to 4k TVs. If you’ve ever walked into a TV store, a Bestbuy, or a Costco, you’ve likely seen 4k TVs, and you can absolutely see just how different these TVs look. Now, companies like TCL are coming out with 8k TVs, which is a huge improvement in screen quality even compared to 4k.

Impacts by COVID-19

Though the COVID-19 pandemic had disrupted supply chains around the world, most of these disruptions have cleared out and the industry continues to thrive. The coronavirus certainly didn’t stop televisions from being purchased. In fact, some companies reported being even more successful throughout the pandemic.

Many Americans who received the $1200 stimulus check used it to purchase a new television. It also makes sense that televisions are being used more and more since people are stuck in their homes during the quarantine. The sale of televisions over 65 inches, for example, went up by 77% in the April-June quarter compared to last year, which is a massive increase.

Another reason these sales may have increased is that savings planned for vacations were now spent another way as vacations have been off the table due to the virus. Stephen Baker, vice president of industry analysis for the NPD Group, says that TVs have been a refuge for those at home during the pandemic.

It’s no surprise that as people spend more and more time in their homes, they are beginning to rethink the way that they spend their discretionary income. Though some projections show a potential decrease in overall revenue for the year, all will have to see how the year ends up since the holidays could end up being a huge time for the sale of televisions.

Final Thoughts

Even with the struggles of COVID-19, the television industry continues to thrive. Samsung has dominance over the market, but companies like TCL that produce televisions at extremely low costs pose a serious threat to their market share.

New technologies are coming rapidly, and it’s up to these companies to keep up if they are going to continue having success. There’s no doubt about it: the television industry is here to stay and grow.

How Baby Boomers Use Technology in 2020

Baby boomers are known for finding ways to make their lives easier, and when it comes to technology, they’re no different. They don’t see technology as a way to waste time, which is a popular way that technology is used among younger generations; instead, they find ways technology can save them time and make life better. Though there’s something nice about using technology to pass the time, it isn’t usually their first choice.

Boomers use a variety of smart devices, like smartphones and voice-activated technology, to do this like navigation, shopping, and reading the news. Though some members of the generation took time to adapt, many of them have more resources available than other generations, so they are embracing, purchasing, and using tech at quicker rates than others.

Growth of the Senior Tech Industry

Senior tech is one of the fastest growing sectors of the technology industry and is increasing extremely rapidly. There are a variety of reasons why this is the case. People are living longer and longer lives, so there’s more seniors consuming technology now than ever; according to the Demographics Research Group, there will be 54 million seniors by the end of 2023.

Baby boomers are also one of the most wealthy generations of all time; they have more spending power than any generation before them, and those who have not retired are earning high incomes since they are in higher ranking positions in their career than other generations.

Also, technology designed for baby boomers is growing as technology becomes more and more advanced and user-friendly. Tech makes senior lives easier, but it can also make their lives safer. One piece of tech that makes senior lives better in both ways is the smartphone, which is being adopted quickly by the baby boomer generation. 

Smartphones and GPS

The majority of baby boomers use smartphones for tons of different reasons. For one, smartphones are much more convenient than flip phones in the fact that the size of the text can be enlarged instantly, making it much easier for people to browse the internet or send text messages, especially for those who have trouble seeing small screens.

Smartphones also have protections built in that make the user safer; for example, to call for emergency help on an iPhone, all you need to do is tap the lock button five times. Having instant access to emergency help in your pocket at all times is a huge reason why seniors buy technology, and its why smartphones make sense for baby boomers.

On top of that, one other way that smartphones make life easier for seniors is through GPS, one of the first major tech inventions that made transportation so much simpler. Though many baby boomers still use GPS though actual GPS devices, many are quickly transitioning to the convenience of smartphone navigation.

Wearable Tech for Baby Boomers

Technology also helps seniors stay healthy and track their health so they can stay on top of any abnormalities. Wearable technology is one of the smartest ways that seniors can constantly monitor different aspects of their health without getting daily doctor checkups.

The newest in Apple Watch technology is a great example of how wearables support senior health. First off, the Apple Watch and almost all other smart watches track your steps and your exercise time. The Watch also delivers notifications when an unusual heartbeat rate is detected, which can help baby boomers detect heart attacks early and get any medical attention necessary.

On top of that, it can detect when someone has had a hard fall and is immobile and will automatically call emergency services to help. This can be the difference between life and death for seniors in dangerous situations.

Tons of different smart watches have even more features to help baby boomers monitor health, including blood oxygen tracking and hand-washing reminders. It’s no surprise that wearable tech is growing extremely rapidly for the baby boomer generation.

Voice-Activated Tech

One of the great things about smartphones and their GPS systems is that it can all be done through voice-activation. Voice-activated tech takes away all of the difficulties with using technology; baby boomers that aren’t experienced with new tech can always find ways to make things work when they’re voice-activated. Smartphones use voice activation to show news, get directions, send messages, and open apps.

Other popular voice-activation devices include Amazon Alexa and Google Home. Though these devices are popular, some baby boomers are shying away from them due to a fear that they could invade their privacy.

Advancements in Hearing Aid Technology

Hearing aids have become more and more necessary as the baby boomer generation ages; luckily, advances in hearing aid tech continue to get better. Bluetooth technologies allow users to hook their smartphones up directly to their hearing aids, letting them talk on the phone with their friends and family even if they are hard of hearing.

Another cool feature that some new hearing aids have is AI, which can learn a user’s preferences and raise or lower volume depending on the environment that the user enters.

Online News and Shopping The majority of baby boomers use their technology for simple things like online news and shopping. Since their generation was known for reading paper newspapers and magazines, many have enjoyed the transition to having all of their favorite media available at the touch of their fingertips.

The majority of baby boomers use phones and computers to do their shopping for technology; this is because they like to have the chance to read through reviews and compare prices before making purchases. There are also baby boomers who have turned to voice-activated tech to make orders; it’s an easy way to order common household products and have them sent directly to their homes.

Final Thoughts

Overall, the focus of technology usage for the baby boomer generation is finding the most convenient, simple ways to do the tasks they enjoy. The sector is growing extremely rapidly, and there will be more and more seniors ready to purchase the advancing technology every day. Technology continues to make life easier for all those who are willing to learn and adapt to new experiences.

Impact of COVID-19 on the Consumer Electronics Industry

When COVID-19 rampantly plagued the United States, brick and mortar retail sales plummeted as most in-store shopping experiences shut down. Despite the lack of foot traffic, many eCommerce and retail brands saw a huge increase in online sales come through.

According to the U.S. Department of Commerce, 2020’s second quarter saw all-time record growth in online retail and eCommerce. One industry that saw a particular increase in growth was the consumer electronics industry as more and more people started working from home and needed electronics in their home offices.

In quarter one of 2019, consumers spent over $138 billion online; just one year later, consumers spent over $200 billion during the rise of COVID-19. Spending was up by almost $62 billion year-over-year.

The online retail momentum seen at the beginning of the year is expected to continue; According to a Future of Tech report by NPD, Q4 2020 is expected to see 18% more sales in the consumer electronics industry than Q4 of 2019. This increase trumps the year-over-year change between Q4 2018 and Q4 2019, where sales only increased by four percent.

Purchases for Consumer Electronics & Entertainment Increase

With an increase in at-home work, eCommerce sales in the consumer electronics industry increased significantly. The online entertainment industry also saw rises as people tried to find ways to fill their free time. Some of the most notable categories with increased growth include monitors, which saw an 84% increase, notebook computers, which saw a 45% increase, printers, which saw a 59% increase, tablets, which saw a 37% increase, and mice and keyboards, which saw a 62% increase.

According to the Future of Tech Report, by NPD, Q4 of 2020 will see 18% additional growth in comparison to Q4 2019, which only received a 4% year-over-year growth from 2018.

Q2 2020 Online Sales Skyrocket

2020’s second quarter ranked as the highest year-over-year growth of any previously recorded second quarter in U.S history. Note that data retrieval of year-over-year numbers began in Q4 of 1999. Q4 of the year 2000 reached a 73.7% rate, which is the only period of growth surpassing the retail success in Q2 2020. Q2 of 2020 tripled the online retail performance of Q2 2019.

Ecommerce penetration in Q2 2020 reached 20.8%, which was up 6.1 percentage points for Q2 of 2019, which hit 14.7%. We have never seen a quarter or year that has increased in eCommerce penetration by more than 2 year-over-year percentage points. After President Donald Trump declared a state of emergency at the end of March, quarter one only saw two and a half weeks of increased retail spending; whereas Q2 2020 had a full three months to track increased eCommerce spending.

The stellar online eCommerce performance in Q2 2020 completely cancelled out the $41.23 billion decline seen in offline and brick-and-mortar spending. Online retail performance in Q2 maintained the same amount of sales, if not more; the only difference is that people were spending through online platforms rather than in person. Despite retail sales tanking in April, the overall retail industry performed better than expected. Overall sales in the retail industry, including online and offline, gained 2.2% year-over-year with a total of $964.47 billion in sales. Last year’s Q2 performance through all platforms hit $943.94 billion total.

Mid-Year Spending Reaches Unprecedented Heights

Though brick-and-mortar stores started opening up again in May, the beginning of Q2, eCommerce sales continued to dominate in the retail industry. When consumers chose to shop in store, many opted for curbside pickup and online pick up options over traditional in-store shopping. Much of shopping has shifted to online as well as alternative methods of purchasing products, rather than going into a store and shopping in person.

Despite in-person retail opening up more and more, trends show that online retail purchases will continue to increase. Some even suggest that around 30% of total retail revenue will come from current buying habits, including online shopping and curbside pickup ordering. An eCommerce provider, CommerceHub, suggests that online ordering will see a 109.9% increase year-over-year in the second quarter.

CommerceHub network retailers have seen online orders over the last six months in volume close to what is seen around the holiday season. Analysts suggest that numbers will continue to increase come the end of Q4 2020, potentially surpassing typical holiday online ordering numbers.

Increases in Shipping

According to a technology vendor, Convey, Q2 shipping in 2020 was up by 44.2% year-over-year. April hit the peak of shipments with a total 19 million packages sent; April saw a 59.6% year-over-year increase from April 2019 in shipping metrics. With such an increase in shipping, April 2020 surpassed 2019 peak holiday months, including November and December, in both growth and volume. Though May and June saw a slight decline from the peak in April, both months also performed on par with peak holiday seasons. Each month saw at least a 30% increase in year-over-year shipping.

Booming Online Sales in 2020

Throughout the first half of 2020, consumers spent $346.26 billion in eCommerce and online retail; This number is up by $80.42 billion, or 30.1%, from the first half of 2019. During the first half of 2020, online sales in the retail industry reached an 18.6% penetration. Overall retail sales via any channel reached $1.87 trillion from January–June 2020; during the first half of 2019, retail sales had only reached $1.8 trillion.

Though COVID-19 threw a wrench in this year’s plans in a variety of ways, the consumer electronics industry did not take as bad of a hit as one might think. In-person sales at brick and mortar stores certainly declined for a period; however, online retail and eCommerce sales have skyrocketed with projections to continue growing. 2020 might be one of the most unexpectedly successful years in the consumer electronics industry’s history.

What I bring to survive CES

The Consumer Electronics Show (CES) is one week away and it is time to get ready. With 180,000 people attending I have my personal checklist to survive. Am I missing anything? What are your personal tricks to optimize CES?

Bring Comfortable and versatile Shoes – I am usually on my feet all day in addition to walking 25,000 steps.  This is a must!

Don’t Get Sick. Every year it seems like everyone gets the dreaded CES bug.  I make sure to come prepared with Sanitizer, Emergen-C, Wipes, and Kleenex.

Energy Boosters– I usually only eat breakfast and dinner at CES. I usually bring some Cliff bars to keep me fueled throughout the day. I would bring an energy shot to power on after midnight.

Portable Power – I usually use my phone constantly at CES trying to find meeting locations, or revising meeting times and locations. My phone will run out of juice by lunchtime. One tip I have is to charge your phone if you are in a meeting location with outlets.

Mints – Talking all week, and running around from meeting-to-meeting will definitely lead to some stale breath. I always keep some mints or gum with me.