Emerging Tech Categories See Strong Growth As Consumers Seek New Forms of Entertainment

Anna Wolfe
Senior Editor, Restaurants

In a year where social distancing and safety measures kept many Americans home more than usual, the consumer technology industry experienced strong sales in categories that kept people connected and entertained.

According to NPD’s Retail Tracking Service, consumer drone sales from March- November 2020 in the U.S. have more than doubled (+114%) compared to the same timeframe in 2019. Over the same period VR/AR hardware and accessories saw 53% sales growth with average sales prices more than doubling.

“While PCs, monitors, and routers flew off the shelves when offices and schools began to close – sales of consumer drones and VR/AR accessories and hardware also saw strong gains as consumers looked for hobbies and pursuits they could enjoy while social distancing,” said Ben Arnold, executive director, industry analyst for The NPD Group. “In VR/AR part of what is driving sales is pent-up demand from earlier in the year, we expect this will continue into the first quarter of the new year.”

2020’s holiday shopping season was unlike any other: Prime Day was pushed from July to October, Black Friday promotions began earlier than ever, and consumers leaned into online shopping or BOPUS offerings. The result for U.S. consumer technology sales was double-digit Q4 growth through the week ending Dec. 26, 2020*. In October and November combined both consumer drone and VR/AR hardware and accessories sales more than doubled from the same period in 2019, with Quest 2 from Oculus and the Mavic Mini from DJI seeing top sales.

“A big part of what is driving these large sales increases are products from the top performing brands in each of these categories,” added Arnold. “Anticipation for products from companies like DJI for drones and Oculus for VR/AR is driving up consumer demand, and with increasing average sales prices in each of these categories, resulting in big 2020 results.”


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