Deloitte’s tech predictions for 2018: More AI, digital subscriptions, AR, and live events


Accounting and tech consultant Deloitte released its predictions for the technology industry in 2018, covering topics from the growth of augmented reality to the triumph of live programming on the Internet.

The predictions are part of the company’s 17th annual Technology, Media, & Telecommunications report. Some of the predictions are for tech growth in 2018, while other predictions refer to growth in future years.

“We have reached the tipping point where adoption of machine learning in the enterprise is poised to accelerate, and will drive improved business operations, better decision making and provide enhanced or entirely new products and services,” said Paul Sallomi, vice chairman of Deloitte, in a statement.

Here’s the nine major predictions and the explanations for them:

  1. Deloitte predicts that more than a billion smartphone users will create augmented reality content at least once during 2018, with 300 million doing so monthly and tens of millions weekly.
  2. Ad blocking will gain momentum. Three quarters of adults in North America engage in some form of ad blocking already, though only 10 percent engage in four or more types of ad blocking. Millennials (aged 18 to 24) are 70 percent more likely to have four or more forms of ad blocking than the average adult. Consumers who are young, highly educated, employed, and have higher incomes are more likely to be heavy ad blockers.
  3. Live events are still king. U.S. TV viewers watch about 1.1 billion hours of live TV daily, and live broadcast and events will generate over $ 545 billion in direct revenues in 2018. Broadcast TV ads and subscriptions represent about $ 358 billion of that amount. Livestreaming will hit $ 7.4 billion in 2018, and China will remain the largest market for livestreaming at $ 4.4 billion in 2018, an 86 percent increase from 2016.
  4. Revenue from esports will pass the $ 1 billion mark for the first time in 2018. In 2015, esports revenue was $ 325 million. Viewing hours leaped to an estimated 6 billion hours globally in 2016, five times the volume of 2010, but were only 19 percent higher year-on-year and still equivalent to only 5.33 days of live TV viewing in the US. China represents half of all viewing hours and generated 11.1 billion streams in 2016, significantly more than the 2.7 billion for North America.
  5. People will open their wallets for digital transactions. By the end of 2018, 50 percent of adults in developed countries will have at least two online-only media subscriptions, and by the end of 2020, the average will have doubled to four. In 2020, there will be 680 million digital subscriptions.
  6. The mobile phone market is saturated, with more than 90 percent of adults in developed countries having a phone. A fifth of North American homes will get all of their Internet data access via cellular mobile networks. At the same time, Deloitte predicts 45 percent of global adult smartphone users and 65 percent of millennials will worry that they are using their phones too much for certain activities and may try to limit their usage in 2018.
  7. By 2023 more than 1.85 billion phones will be sold worldwide each year, or 5 million a day. That means if you stacked all the phones sold in a year end to end, they’d stretch more than halfway to the moon. And those smartphone owners will interact with their smartphones 65 times a day in 2023, up 20 percent from 2018.
  8. TV viewing by millennials will continue to decline. The number will decline by 4 percent to 11 percent per year in the U.S., Canada, and the United Kingdom in 2018 and 2019. This rate of decline has been steady for seven years and is now off by more than 40 percent of the rate from seven years ago. Forces that distracted young people away from traditional TV, such as smartphones, social media, and video piracy, are reaching saturation.
  9. Enterprise machine learning pilots and deployments will double in 2018, powered by new chips and better software tools.

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