Sales of devices such as Apple TV, Fire TV and Roku have declined in 2021 and 2022 but growth is expected to return and push the market to almost 100 million annually by 2026.
The surge in demand for streaming video has been a boon for media boxes and Smart TVs, but recently a cocktail of chip shortages, complications in logistics and inflationary pressures has had a negative impact on the market.
Global shipments of streaming media devices are expected to fall 1.2% to 80 million units in 2022, according to media research group Kagan. The study includes boxes such as Apple TV, Chromecast, Fire TV, Nvidia Shield and Roku, but does not include Smart TVs, game consoles and set-top boxes.
- "However, we anticipate the market will return to growth as early as 2023 as market forces swing back in favor of low-margin hardware production. We forecast a 4.1% compound annual growth rate (CAGR) for SMD (streaming media devices) shipments from 2021 through 2026, enough to push the market close to 100 million units in 2026," wrote Kagan.
Upgraded hardware on the horizon
The big players have been unusually quiet throughout the covid-19 period. In 2021, Amazon launched the Fire TV Stick 4K Max while Apple launched a second generation of Apple TV 4K, but both were minor upgrades.
Roku has not launched major new products for a while and the Nvidia Shield has not been refreshed since 2019. Google last upgraded the Chromecast device in September 2020.
Google is expected to launch a new version of Chromecast this year while Apple is expected to launch an upgraded Apple TV, possibly with an A14 chip.
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Kagan estimates that the installed base of streaming media devices will hit 313.5 million by the end of 2026, up from 232.6 million as of 2021.