Fast Forward: Top Trends From CES 2018

This summary was compiled by IPG Media Lab.

CES is back and it’s bigger than ever. With nearly 4,000 exhibiting companies and over 180,000 attendees from 150 countries the biggest consumer technology show on earth offers a great overview of the entire consumer technology industry and a good indicator of where consumer attention is heading. As always, the Lab team scouted the show floors and attended the conferences to bring you the following market trends we observed at this CES and what your brand can do in response. Highlights include:

  • The fight for home platform begins in earnest, but the situation is far more complicated and nuanced than simply Google Assistant vs. Alexa. (Click here to read more)
  • Automakers unveil their vision for autonomous driving and future mobility concepts that blends ride-sharing with commercial uses such as delivery and mobile stores. (Click here to read more)
  • Wireless charging gets a sole standard and goes mainstream thanks to Apple, unlocking a new factor of customer experience for brands with physical locations.
  • Digital health tech continues to mature and diversify, solidifying the healthcare angle for most wearables and unlocking new data for brands to leverage. (Click here to read more)
  • 5G inches closer to reality as the industry eagerly awaits for it to supercharge not only mobile, but also IoT devices, autonomous cars, and AI. (Click here to read more)
  • Bonus: cool robots, booming esports, and all the other honorable mentions of CES 2018. (Click here to read more)


What Brands Need To Do

Someone once said, “CES is not where groundbreaking innovations happen, but rather where we see how those innovations take over the world.” That much is truer than ever, as the most important things coming out of this CES are not the gadgets themselves, but the software platform that layered on top of those devices, be it smart speakers or autonomous cars, enabling a whole new way to deliver value and engage with consumers. For all brands, this means it is time to think beyond product innovation and reexamine your distribution strategy and user experience as consumer behavior continues to morph and evolve.

For example, in regard to CPG brands, the mobile retail concepts powered by autonomous vehicles that Toyota and Ford showcased heralds an enormous shift in how brands can deliver their products to customers. Self-serve vending machines on wheels may be a simple thing to envision, but the real challenge for CPG brands lies in how they will develop the software interface to connect with their customers in order to deliver the right products to customers whenever and wherever they need it.

For healthcare and fitness brands, the digital health gadgets showcased at this CES underscored the importance of personalization and preemptive care, particularly in the home environment. As we get more and more comfortable with tracking every breath that we take and every toss and turn that we make in bed, these connected devices are creating an enormous trove of health data for healthcare and fitness brands to extrapolate insights from in order to better understand their customers. In addition, the developments in smart home platforms and mobility system will also alter how customers access and engage with healthcare services, allowing doctors and test clinics to come to them, rather than the other way around.

For travel and hospitality brands, the quickening adoption of smart home devices and the ensuing platform war will significantly alter consumer’s expectations when it comes to the hospitality experience. What happens if the hotel you want to stay in uses a different smart home platform than what you have gotten used to in your own home? The solution, at least for now, is to stay platform-agnostic and give your guests the options to choose the platform they are most comfortable with.

Date: January 21, 2018