2020 was a year of historic growth for the Canadian consumer technology industry with sales up 18% totalling $11.1 billion*. According to The NPD Group’s latest Future of Tech forecast, this momentum will continue into the first quarter of 2021.

“In Q1 2021, NPD expects 4% consumer tech sales growth versus Q1 2020. But even with a strong start to the year, comparisons to the monumental growth seen in the latter part of 2020 will result in a -10% decline year-over-year in 2021, as sales reach nearly $9.4 billion in Canada. NPD expects to see an additional year-over-year -1% decline in sales in 2022, followed by another -1% decline of sales in 2023**.”      

While the country recovers from COVID-19 and vaccine roll-outs pick up, the consumer tech space will see a slowdown from 2020, though it will still surpass 2019 levels. Pull forward purchases of high ticket items such as notebooks and TV’s will impact sales opportunities in 2021 and 2022, with unit sales most likely shifting to replacement as opposed to incremental.  

“The 2020 pandemic drove the technology space in Canada to its highest ever dollar sales levels. Consumer spend on higher ticket items for in-home work, learning and entertainment, was an unexpected windfall for the industry,” says Chris Brugman, Industry Analyst, Canada Technology at The NPD Group. “As the nation recovers, spending will fall below 2020 levels but will still exceed 2019, as consumers continue to spend in work from home categories, while balancing renewed interest in out of home experiences and activities.”

As travel resumes and consumers plan for 2021 and beyond, expect to see some shift away from general merchandise purchasing and a return to experiential spend, with dollars going toward previously deferred or cancelled vacations and leisure travel.  While this will eat into spending on at-home entertainment products, we expect to see a rise in other consumer technology categories. Mobile accessories and portable audio products will see gains in the coming years as consumers return to their previous habits. These categories will recognize growth that well offset any declines experienced in 2020, with consumers looking to make up for lost time.

*The NPD Group, Inc., Weekly Retail Tracking Service, Jan – Dec 2020

**Based on forecasted sales of technology products captured in The NPD Group Retail Tracking Service point-of-sale data.

Source: NPD