Tech CES

Is all the hype at CES justified? Or are we bored of new technology?


By Dom Burch, managing director

January 5, 2016 | 4 min read

CES only officially kicks off this morning in Las Vegas, yet over the past 48 hours we've already seen a flurry of announcements ranging from cars that look like the batmobile to fridge doors with giant tablets stuck onto them, to alarm clocks that wake you up with the aroma of fresh croissants or coffee.

Faraday's Batmobile-esque concept car

As ever, if you're not actually over there in person it's very hard to stay interested for too long, hence smart PRs getting their stories out early.

But one report is attempting to buck the trend by pouring cold water on the entire event.

Accenture has conducted a comprehensive survey of more than 28,000 consumers across 28 countries.

The Igniting Growth in Consumer Technology report reveals nearly half (47 per cent) of respondents rank security concerns and privacy risks among the top three barriers to buying a smartwatch, wearable fitness monitor or smart home thermostat.

Internet of things devices and services feature large again this year at CES but three quarters of those intending to buy an IoT device are aware they could be hacked.

The survey also highlights what it describes as 'sluggish demand' for traditional consumer technology.

For example, less than half (48 per cent) of respondents said they intend to buy a smartphone this year, down six points from the 54 per cent who said they planned to buy one last year.

Half of the market renewing their device in any one year is still fairly healthy in my view, but point taken on the downward trend.

Consistent with this is the number of people who said they plan to buy a new TV or a tablet PC this year – 30 per cent and 29 per cent, respectively – also dropping from 38 per cent last year for both device types.

That said, there are still plenty of interesting things on display in Vegas. Mashable's round up from yesterday highlighted five including LG's rollable OLED display, and Withings' Thermo temporal thermometer which can measure a baby's temperature without waking him or her up.

As ever, most consumer electronics companies are desperately trying to innovate in order to grow sales.

According to Accenture many are in danger of over hyping the demand.

Sami Luukkonen, global managing director for Accenture’s Electronics and High Tech group, argues the market is not about glitzy gadgets anymore.

He adds: "As device demand tapers off, the industry needs to make a sharp turn toward providing innovative, value-added services that consumers are able to use with confidence.”

Smartwatches are a great case in point. Only 13 percent of respondents said they plan to purchase a smartwatch in the next year, up only 1 percentage point from last year.

But don't write them off just yet. When battery life and price are no longer barriers, their time will come.

Follow Dom on Twitter @domburch

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