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Foldable screens and wireless headsets among the top predicted consumer trends

By Mitchell Hageman
Thu 10 Mar 2022

New research has revealed that devices with foldable screens will reach nearly 10% of all smartphone sales by 2030.

The study, conducted by ABI Research, also found a variety of other consumer technology trends for the future, highlighting the direction of digital transformation.

It was revealed foldable phone technology was often previously among the first to market but incurred many delays due to inadequate technology implementations resulting in poor UXs.

Smartwatches were the most dominant force found in the wearables market, with shipments projected to reach 236.55 million by 2026, at a CAGR of 19.7%.

Wireless headset shipments are expected to reach 723 million units shipped worldwide in 2026 and 502.1 million already at the end of 2021.

It is said that features like noise cancellation technology will improve the UX and offer a more extensive range of future use cases, and voice control will become the dominant User Interface (UI) for hands-free control of smartphones and smartwatches.

ABI Research chief research officer Stuart Carlaw says a variety of changes in the way users think about technology has changed the way consumers think, with more emphasis on navigating new horizons.

"The rise of always-on 5G portable devices, an explosion of edge AI adoption, a proliferation of smart manufacturing platforms, the formation of the metaverse, and a growing concentration on cybersecurity are just some of the many changes on the horizon that are indicative of a more connected, more vulnerable, and ultimately, more technology-driven world," he says.

ABI Research Director David McQueen says that now most of the teething problems related to folded technology are sorted, a massive growth spurt will cement the technology's place in the market.

"The addition of more innovative designs, such as fold-to-compact models, the folding form factor with its enhanced functionality, and evolution in device experiences, will see an increase in popularity, despite still having relatively high price points," he says 

"Consequently, a significant change in market availability and breakthrough of many more flexible screened devices is expected in 2022."

While the uptake in tech will be high, the 5G attach rate for wearables and accessories will remain low at about 0.6% by 2026 and will be mainly related to those sectors such as smartwatches and headsets. High-data gathering and low-power efficiency will be the key strengths for these smart gadgets, increasing both demand and popularity, particularly in the healthcare industry.

"While there are still fundamental challenges ahead political tumult, an entrenched endemic, and a broken supply chain, these statistics should provide insights and actionable data needed to chart a successful course in 2022 and beyond," concludes Carlaw when reflecting on the research.

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