CES 2022 kicks off with annual ‘Tech Trends to Watch’

Some of the new products highlighted during the CES 2022 "Tech Trends to Watch" press conference. (Graphic by CES)

Las Vegas — CES 2022 kicked off with its annual “Tech Trends to Watch” on Monday afternoon. It was held inside the Mandalay Bay and was also viewable online for media attendees only. Some of the topics discussed included 5G, digital health, augmented reality, sustainability, smart home and appliances, smart cities, fitness and wearables along with gaming and esports.

“For you lucky people, CES 2022 starts right now, can we celebrate that?“ said Steve Koenig, VP of Research at the Consumer Technology Association, which proceeds the CES show each year. “It’s been a while since we’ve been together, certainly in this place in-person. I just want to reaffirm, with you, that CES is the global stage for innovation. In these periods of economic downtown and crises like the pandemic, what we typically see is… that innovation tends to accelerate and even bunch out and as that innovation is unleashed, this is what levels up economies, this is what levels up society and consumer experience and generally what makes life better. We’ve witnessed an abundance of innovation over this season and this past year and it’s all here waiting for you.”

New products highlights during the “Tech Trends to Watch” included the Neutonica Band from Mexico, Now EG PMIC from The Netherlands, the VTA Smart Security Camera from Colombia, Evocargo EVO-1 from Russia, Vinfast EVs from Vietnam and Nuheara IQ2 Buds Max from Australia.

Four Focus areas: technology demand, technology investment, the new tech lifestyle and technology trends.

Technology demand remains strong

“We’ve talked a lot across this season about the historic highs of consumer demand for technology around the world, category by category, hitting sales records of retail sales and so forth,” Koenig explained. “These data from our research partner GFK bare testimony to that. Looking back last year, across the first three quarters, year-over-year quarterly growth documented here in different places around the world by GFK and of course hitting some historic highs. We know about this. As we move into Q3, as noted here in green, that growth starting to taper a little bit. But like the title suggest, still growing and still strong.”

Graphic by CES; Data by GFK

Video on demand services are growing. Netflix has 214 worldwide subscribers, Amazon PrimeVideo has 175 million, Disney+ has 118 million and AppleTV+ has 20 million.

“Services are really important to the industry and important to the consumers. Our lives, as we know, are increasingly defined by technology. Technology itself is increasingly defined by what? By software and extension to services. Devices need to be connected to some kind of service. We can think of a lot of different categories today that are emerging and are rising in terms of sales volume and consumer interest like connected fitness.”

Technology investment

“You at CES are the first to see this, our January 2022 U.S. Consumer Technology Industry Forecast,” he said. “Our new number for 2022 is just over a half trillion dollars. That’s a huge number, a new high for the industry. That’s why we say growth and momentum still in play. We’re still growing. This is a combination of hardware in blue and software and services. Very unusual in a mature tech market like the United States to see back-to-back high consecutive annual growth for consumer tech spending in those areas.”

According to the CTA 23rd annual Consumer Technology Ownership & Market Potential Study, consumers are buying: 4K ultra HD TVs, notebook or laptop computers, smart appliances and doorbells, connected sports/fitness equipment, soundbars, smart TVs, video game consoles, smart doorbells and light bulbs.

Graphic by CES; Data by CTA

“In this season, consumers have been going about leveling up their tech. Everybody is looking to do things easier, work smarter not harder. They’ve been leveling up their tech to live a more 21st century lifestyle. In this season of the pandemic, a lot of the discretionary dollars pouring into tech. That’s what’s really fueling these historic sales highs and robust consumer demand. This data from our study of U.S. households and their ownership and of course purchase plans. You see smart over and over and over. We also get a quotient for staying fit with connected equipment. We see the same exact thing when we surveyed Europe, the U.K., the Netherlands and France.”

Sea Change: Costly Containers

“Let’s talk about some of the challenges, the elephant in the room,” Koenig explained. “We’ve all been talking about supply chain. This is not just a tech sector thing. This is a multi-sector, across the economy. Everyone is dealing with supply chain issues from the consumer electronics superstore to the smallest grocery retailer. Everybody is dealing with supply chain issues. No one is saying this is going to unwind and unravel anytime soon. This is going to be with us but at least some of these shipping costs are coming down. It’s good news for small and medium-sized businesses. That’s in the tech sector or elsewhere. There is a lot of friction and friction remaining at U.S. and other ports around the world. But it will take the better part of 2022 before we start to unravel some of this.”

Steve Koenig, VP of Research at the Consumer Technology Association

Koenig also discussed the chip shortage. He said automotive has been the bullseye of the chip shortage. A picture of the Kentucky Speedway parking lot filled with pickup trucks needing chips was shown on the screen. He said most companies are waiting about 22 weeks or five and a half months for new chips to arrive. 

“I think what you’re going to see across the show floor at CES… is bring forward solutions to these big problems.”

Stay with AmericaJR for continuing coverage of CES 2020…

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