A Tao WellShell�an electronic isometric device but also monitors various fitness levels and transmits the data to a�smartphone on display at CES

Global spending on tech set to fall this year

Global spending on technology will slip 1 per cent this year to $1.06tn as falling smartphone and tablet prices undercut sales growth.

Steve Koenig, The Consumer Electronics Association's director of industry analysis, issued the forecast at the opening of the annual International CES gadget show in Las Vegas, which opens to the public tomorrow.

The decline is off the peak of $1.07tn dollars estimated this year, but does not reflect less consumer appetite for what Koenig called the "dynamic duo" of tech gadgets. Spending on smartphones and tablets is still expected to account for around 26p of every pound spent on technology this year.

But the average price of smartphones, for example, will fall from £270 in 2010 to an estimated £181 this year, despite the number sold rising to 1.21 billion, up from 1.01 billion.

"These lower-end devices are what's required to penetrate most deeply into these emerging markets," Koenig said.

Smartphones and tablets remain such key drivers of technology spending that they are eating into other categories of devices like point-and-shoot cameras, video cameras, portable GPS devices and handheld gaming devices.

But within other categories of devices there are a few pockets of growth, including wearable devices.

Smartwatch sales are expected to be 1.5 million units globally this year, up from 1 million in 2013, said Shawn DuBravac, the association's chief economist.

"This is a very nascent market. We're still looking for that killer application for that particular device," he said.

Google Glass is expected to launch broadly sometime this year. So far, its user-testing version has only been available at a $1,500 price to about 15,000 developers and consumers who registered to be part of its early adopter program.

Galaxy Gear smartwatches from Samsung have garnered mixed reviews since their September launch, and consumers have not warmed to them yet.

Despite the slow start, Juniper Research expects more than 130 million smart wearable devices will ship by 2018. Moreover, global shipments of wearable "smart glasses" alone will reach 10 million each year by 2018, compared with an estimated 87,000 in 2013, according to the research firm.

Ultra HD televisions, which roughly quadruple the number of pixels of a high-definition set, are also seen taking off.

There were 60,000 such sets sold in the US alone last year, a number expected to hit 485,000 this year, the association said, but that is still a small number compared with the nearly 40 million TVs sold in the USA each year, DuBravac said.

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