According to the NPD Group, at the end of 2017, 210 million devices were installed in U.S. consumer homes actively delivering Internet connectivity to the TV screen, and by the end of 2021 there are forecast to be 275 million, a compound annual growth rate of 7%. While smart TVs and streaming media players are expected to continue to drive installed Internet-connected TV device growth, making up 49% and 29% of the total growth respectively through 2021, the research house anticipates the number of new households purchasing devices to begin to slow late in the forecast period, as the market reaches saturation.
Historically, in the United States, gaming consoles were the leading installed and Internet-connected TV device, but by the end of 2018 the number of streaming media players and smart TVs installed and connected to the Internet are expected to surpass gaming consoles. According to the forecast, smart TVs will overtake the leading position, driven by sales of smart TVs 40 inches and below coming equipped with operating systems, continued growth of Internet connect rates, growing use of streaming video services, and rising 4K/UltraHD adoption - as virtually all 4K TVs come with apps installed.
Additionally, according to NPD, consumers replace TV sets every 6.9 years on average, and given that smart TV sales picked up during 2013, replacements are expected to accelerate during 2019 and 2020. This is expected to drive smart TV sales, but lead to a slowdown in the number of additional connected TV households, a trend that is expected to be seen in the streaming media player market as well.
"Device purchases are shifting from first-time connected TV households and those connecting TVs in secondary rooms, to consumers' entering into a device and smart TV upgrade cycle," said John Buffone, executive director, industry analyst, NPD Connected Intelligence. "From a content distributor perspective, this means investing in resources to ensure today's apps are updated for later model year devices and TVs."
NPD defines TV-connected devices as Internet-connected TVs, video game consoles, Blu-ray Disc players and streaming media players installed and connected to the Internet. The devices are actually connected to the Internet, not just Internet capable.