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Global gadget spending will hit $1.7-trillion in 2019

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Consumer spending on technology is forecast to reach $1.69 trillion in 2019, an increase of 5.3% over 2018. According to the latest Worldwide Semiannual Connected Consumer Spending Guide from International Data Corporation (IDC), consumer purchases of traditional and emerging technologies will remain strong over the 2019-2023 forecast period, reaching $2.06 trillion in 2023 with a five-year compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 5.1%.

Roughly three-quarters of all consumer technology spending in 2019 will be for traditional technologies. Mobile telecom services (voice and data) will account for more than half of this amount throughout the forecast, followed by mobile phones and personal computing devices. Spending growth for traditional technologies will be relatively slow with a CAGR of 2.2% over the forecast period.

Emerging technologies, including AR/VR headsets, drones, on-demand services, robotic systems, smart home devices, and wearables, will deliver strong growth with a five-year CAGR of 13.2%. This growth will enable emerging technologies to capture nearly a third of consumer spending by 2023. Smart home devices and on-demand services will account for roughly 90% of emerging technologies spending.

“Advances in technology continue to drive what ‘convenience’ means today and in the future for connected consumers. Ranging from consumer robots for household cleaning and maintenance to smart lighting or home security/monitoring systems, connected consumers are adopting these solutions in their homes and everyday lives as they go through their own digital transformation,” says Stacey Soohoo, research manager with IDC’s Customer Insights & Analysis group.

“Meanwhile, companies are exploring new opportunities to interact with their consumers, finding the right mix of personalization and functionality to provide frictionless experiences,” says Soohoo. “Technology providers are also blending digital and physical experiences, and this includes an evolving area and new addition to IDC’s Worldwide Semiannual Connected Consumer Spending Guide: on-demand services. On-demand services enable access to networks, marketplaces, content, and other resources in the form of subscription-based services and includes services like Netflix, Hulu, Spotify and others. As connected consumers juggle multiple services across their devices, it is essential for technology providers to understand how the adoption of these various technologies and services will impact their consumer’s experience in the future.”

Communication and entertainment will be the two largest use case categories for consumer technology, representing more than 70% of all spending throughout the forecast. More than half of all communication spending will go toward traditional voice and messaging services. Entertainment spending will be dominated by watching or downloading TV, videos and movies, as well as listening to music and downloading and playing online games. The use cases that will see the fastest spending growth over the forecast period are augmented reality games (136.3% CAGR) and virtual reality video/feature viewing (47.3% CAGR).

“That consumers are connected through a myriad of devices is a given, but IDC’s Connected Consumer Spending Guide reveals what kinds of applications and experiences they are spending their money on while using a device,” said Ramon T. Llamas, research director, Devices and Displays at IDC. “Communication and entertainment have long been the mainstays among consumers and will hold the leading positions throughout the forecast. Beyond them is a long list of emerging use cases whose spend will outpace the rest of the market, including augmented reality, virtual reality, and home automation. These highlight the direction that consumers are going and players throughout the ecosystem should plan ahead to capture this expected rise in demand.”

The United States will be the largest geographic market with consumer technology spending forecast to reach $412 billion in 2019, up 5.5% over 2018. China will be the second-largest market in 2019 with spending expected to reach $328 billion followed by Western Europe at $227 billion. Mobile telecom services and mobile phones will be the two largest categories in all three regions. China will also see the fastest spending growth with a five-year CAGR of 6.8%.

The Worldwide Semiannual Connected Consumer Spending Guide quantifies consumer spending for 22 technologies in ten categories across nine geographic regions. The guide also provides spending details for 23 consumer use cases. Unlike any other research in the industry, the Connected Consumer Spending Guide was designed to help business and IT decision-makers to better understand the scope and direction of consumer investments in technology over the next five years.

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3D printing set for $20bn boom

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3D printing is starting to be realized in a wide variety of industries, but its potential in the aerospace and defense industry is significant. The 3D printing industry was worth $3bn in 2013 and grew to $7bn in 2017. By 2025, the market is forecast to account for more than $20bn in spend, according to GlobalData, a leading data and analytics company.

The company’s report, ‘3D Printing in Aerospace & Defence – Thematic Research’, reveals that most major militaries and companies are exploring options with the technology. Some are still in the testing phase, while others are deploying the technology in final production. This is particularly true in the aerospace industry, where engines, aircraft and satellites are currently using 3D-printed components.

Listed below are the militaries that have taken an early lead in implementing 3D printing technology, as identified by GlobalData.

US Marine Corps

The US Marine Corps currently has the highest uptake of 3D printing of any military service worldwide. In particular, the additive manufacturing team at Marine Corps Systems Command has created the world’s largest 3D concrete printer with the ability to print a 500-square-foot barracks hut in 40 hours.

US Air Force

The US Air Force is integrating 3D printing into its supply chain. Overseen by ‘America Makes’, the US national additive manufacturing/3D printing innovation institute, it is investigating how current systems can be used to reproduce aircraft components for decades-old planes that may no longer have reliable sources of replacement parts, without minimum order quantities.

US Navy

The Navy has created new logistical units such as Navy frontline attachments, which can rapidly create spare parts for incredibly complex military equipment such as the F-35B – and are currently operational for this purpose. The navy has also worked with Oak Ridge National laboratory to produce the first 3D-printed submarine hull.

US Army

The US Army is working on 3D-printed, modular drone systems. The army wants 3D printers that can be deployed to a forward base camp and used to produce aviation backup when necessary for troops on the ground. This plan aims to create bespoke unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) systems and is said to be at an advanced stage of development.

Chinese Air Force

A 3D Systems ProJet 4500 printer has been acquired by the Chinese army and has been working on replacement military truck parts for the army’s fuel tanker fleet. A number of Chinese fighter jets are believed to be carrying 3D-printed parts and are currently in operation.

Russian Army

Russia has been testing multiple applications for 3D-printed parts in its newest main battle tank, the T-14 Armata. During the development process, 3D printing was used for prototyping, but it is expected that parts will be used in the final product, of which 2,300 have been ordered.

South Korean Air Force

Collaboration between South Korea’s InssTEK and France’s Z3DLAB is producing parts for South Korean warplanes that see heavy use along the border with North Korea. The aim is to upgrade existing components, rather than replace worn parts, with a new titanium composite material.

Information based on GlobalData’s report: ‘3D Printing in Aerospace & Defence – Thematic Research’.

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SA productivity could nosedive on Black Friday

Employee productivity on Black Friday could nose dive, says local online retailer, OneDayOnly.co.za

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Finance Minister Tito Mboweni hasn’t had it easy lately. Amidst a more-than-tricky economy and having to walk the tight rope in his recent mid-term budget speech, Tito is squeezed between a rock and a very hard place that’s about to get tighter with Black Friday inspired employee procrastination.

“While the minister probably has bigger fish to fry than South Africans avoiding spreadsheets in favour of scooping a deal on Samsung’s latest flat screen – Black Friday undoubtedly affects employees’ focus at work,” says Matthew Leighton, spokesperson at leading South African e-tailer OneDayOnly.co.za .

While it started as a post-Thanksgiving blowout sale by US retailers, Black Friday has become one of the most significant calendar days for consumers and the retail industry globally. “The proof is in the OneDayOnly.co.za stats. Last year, we recorded over 150 000 website users on Black Friday alone – the average on a regular day is around 60 000 and on a high traffic day such as pay day its approximately 80 000,” says Leighton.

So the demand is clearly there but are people actually doing the bulk of their Black Friday buying while they should be working? Leighton says they are. “Although the sale starts at midnight people are online throughout the day and data from last year shows traffic on OneDayOnly.co.za spiking primarily during core working hours – 06:00, 8:00, 11:00 and 15:00.

He adds that the average user session – or time people spend on the site at any one point – is three times longer on Black Friday than any other day. “In addition to spending longer on the site on Black Friday, customers also return many times during the day so these longer sessions happen numerous times during the work day.”

To add to Tito’s woes, Leighton explains that people are also multi-screening their buying efforts by watching social platforms for tips and prompts. “Most online retailers worth their salt share prompts on social feeds to drive traffic to their websites. Last year, each time we announced via social that a 100% off deal was available shoppers flocked to OneDayOnly.co.za. Almost instantly, the web traffic would spike. The pattern shows how closely people keep an eye on the 100% off deal drops via social media, as well as how effectively the platforms cater to a very wide audience in real time.”

But while Black Friday may result in the odd deadline being missed, Leighton believes the overall impact on the economy is an extremely positive one. “Last year we saw people spending in the region of R1300 on Black Friday, compared to an average of R970 on other days. According to BankServ, South Africans’ card transactions came up to R3bn on the day last year, up 16% from 2017. That’s a nice injection into an otherwise depressed retail sector.”

Leighton says people love Black Friday because there is something in it for everyone, but there’s also nothing to lose – except for maybe a bit of work time. “With so many more products available at low prices, it makes sense to peruse. If you find nothing you like, you are no worse off. And your boss doesn’t have to be either if you’re proactive and shop before work when our doors open at midnight.”

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