Despite the lack of ceremony – or a crowd – at CES this year, marketers should still be paying attention to the trade show.
The Consumer Electronics Show took place last week – albeit in a slightly muted fashion again. Despite the lack of pomp there was a vast array of new and evolved consumer tech products announced, and with them a raft of new ways to speak to consumers. Here’s an at-a-glance list of all the announcements that matter the most to marketers (and a few future trends to keep an eye on).
As usual, while mobile phones had a presence at CES 2022, the event was largely focused on bigger ticket electronics like cars and home entertainment. Despite that, some smaller challenger brands announced moves in the mobile device space, and could well influence how the bigger players come to see their own mobiles.
Selfies, meet social shopping
The Vivo V23 handset is billing itself as the camera for selfies. The Chinese manufacturer has evidently taken a look at the insanely powerful back-facing cameras of its rivals and decided to zig where they zag. The mid-range handset comes with two front-facing cameras and a ton of installed software to touch up its hi-res selfies, and is seemingly betting on the influencer and social crowds to snap up a selfie-dedicated smartphone.
For marketers, that’s further evidence of the power of influencers. It is also validation of Snapchat’s assertion that the camera is the new keyboard, and the primary means of interaction for a new generation. The smart money will be on a broader, more sophisticated range of virtual try-ons, filters and branded content opportunities - all powered by the selfie.
You’ll probably be able to programmatically buy ads on cars (eventually)
Probably the most attention-grabbing news to have come out of CES 2022 was the ‘colour-changing car’. BMW unveiled its E Ink-powered iX Flow tech (effectively the same as that in a Kindle) that allows the exterior of the car to shift through shades of black and white. BMW said: “The innovative E Ink technology opens completely new ways of changing the vehicle’s appearance in line with the driver’s aesthetic preferences, the environmental conditions or even functional requirements. The technology thus offers unprecedented potential for personalisation in the area of exterior design.”
While it’s early days for this sort of tech on vehicles (outside of Bond movies) it’s a sure bet that it will eventually be used to sell advertising space on the sides of vans, cars and lorries.
Gaming tech is big business
As you’d expect the latest monitors and gaming hardware had a big presence during the show. Vizio made waves with its biggest and loudest monitors like the 50-inch M-Series Quantum X 4K HDR Gaming Smart TV, which should allow home consoles like the PS5 to shine, or double as a PC monitor due to its variable refresh rate. Meanwhile Panasonic’s flagship LZ2000 OLED TV also caters to the latest generation of gamers. It’s a timely reminder to marketers and brands that gaming is increasingly mainstream, with an audience that is wider than ever before.
If you wanted to argue that the ‘metaverse’ doesn’t exist as a tangible concept, this CES 2022 would be excellent evidence. It was a buzzword that infiltrated otherwise sensible and interesting tech presentations. It was paired with everything from smart glasses to industrial solutions to gesture recognition tech, each of which only served to muddy the already murky definition of what the metaverse is.
The lesson for marketers? The metaverse as envisioned by your clients is probably very different from those of their competitors and consumers as a whole. It is currently formless and with a huge array of issues to overcome before it becomes a viable marketing platform (though individual virtual environments are still very much worth experimenting with).
5G goes more mainstream
It’s easy to forget that 5G was once hyped as a game-changing upgrade to mobile devices. The idea that it would seamlessly enable live experiences in VR on mobile and drastically improve streaming capabilities has only been realised to a limited degree so far. Despite that, CES2022 saw a number of mid-range verging on budget handsets that are set to include 5G as standard, including the impressive-looking Nokia G400.
It’s a reminder to marketers that not everybody yet has access to the latest tech - but that those audiences do get catered to eventually. The next-gen of data-gathering and content serving is about to be more widely available.
As with 5G, 4K tech for home displays is becoming more affordable. While penetration of 4K TVs in the US is currently around 50% for households that have television sets, the proportion is increasing, with eyes increasingly turning to the 8K future. Sets like the just-announced TCL 98R754 now offer a budget home cinema experience in 4K and, while that’s not a generational change, it and other CES2022 announcements show that the luxury TV market still has headroom to bring 4K to audiences.
As with the shift to HD and the challenges of selling VR, however, it’s hard to market the benefits of 4K on sets that don’t have the capability to display it. Expect some out-of-the-box thinking like the Sony Bravia LCD advert from 2005 to sell some of these new 4K models to the masses.
Luxury goods are going nowhere
For marketers specialising in selling the latest tech innovations there was a lot to like about this CES. From Samsung’s new Eco Remote which charges itself over Wi-Fi and mobile signals to the routers that automatically adjust their antennae predictions, there are fantastic gimmicks around which to hook advertising campaigns.
Wearables have a mini-renaissance
Smartwatches might not turn heads the way they once did, but the latest iterations on the technology make it clear that they are still a priority for hardware and software companies. The Garmin Venu 2 Plus, for example, which integrates a speaker and microphone and therefore voice assistants and all their marketing opportunities direct from your phone.
For marketers, however, the big revelation from CES 2022 is the extent to which wearables are being integrated into health and fitness solutions. Given that athleisure is a huge part of many ecommerce and affiliate strategies in 2022 it makes sense that marketers should be considering wearables as a core component of any such strategy.