What marketers should expect from CES this year

Tens of thousands of industry professionals will descend on Las Vegas this January for the first large-scale, in-person Consumer Electronics Show in three years.

After a fully virtual show in 2021 and a scaled-down version last January, organizers expect this iteration of the tech industry’s largest trade show to be a return to form with at least 70% more attendance than the show. last year, which attracted 45,000 people. , and more than 3,000 exhibitors and 2.1 million square feet of exhibit space.

The event’s programming will also broadly adhere to one overarching theme for the first time this year: “Human Security for All,” in partnership with the United Nations.

Below are some of the trends that could shape this year’s show.

Health and transportation technology on the rise

The show’s bread and butter is, of course, its futuristic gadgets, which have included an increasing number of electric vehicles, health-related gadgets, and all sorts of smart home appliances in recent years. Those trends are expected to continue this year with an even broader range of mobility and transportation devices, including a demonstration of a real flying car, and a health-tech industry overburdened by a pandemic-driven surge in demand, said Kinsey Fabrizio, senior vice president. membership and CES sales at the Consumer Technology Association, the trade group that runs CES.

Even before the pandemic, the CTA had been making a concerted effort to lean more toward health technology such as remote monitoring, telemedicine, and wearable devices, a trend that the Covid-19 pandemic only accelerated.

“Key leaders in healthcare will be at CES this year,” said Fabrizio. “Moderna will be at CES, their CEO will be speaking, Teladoc will be at CES for the first time.”

While fitness technology and electric vehicles aren’t a natural destination for marketers, new platforms like in-car entertainment systems or home exercise programming could provide sponsorship opportunities.

Metaverse and NFT will appear all over the show floor.

No doubt VR and AR headsets will also play a big part with the metaverse chatter pervading every part of the show floor this year.

In addition to the actual hardware, organizers say the program will lean heavily on all things metaverse and non-fungible tokens (NFTs), despite recent turmoil in cryptocurrency markets, making some executives be wary of anything to do with web3, the umbrella term for the technology that proponents say will constitute a new version of the Internet.

“Metaverse and web3 is a new topic for us,” said Fabrizio. “This will just spread across the show floor. Every section of CES and the tech industry is talking about this.”

But the recent FTX bankruptcy and the subsequent crash in cryptocurrency markets could overshadow this part of the event, even though that controversy has little to do with technology like the metaverse, according to Kassan. NFTs had also been experiencing drops in sales for months before FTX’s collapse, as its initial wave of advertising seemed to be waning.

“Marketers right now seem to be conflating FTX with blockchain and NFT. People just put it all together, like, ‘Oh, it’s all of that.’ And I don’t think that’s the case, obviously,” Kassan said. “That’s going to be a distraction to the growth of that space, at least for the time being.”

Retail media networks will have a greater presence

While show-goers typically come to CES with their eyes set on the future, glimpsing the technology that could shape the world years from now, the economic uncertainty looming in the new year may also push marketers with limited budget towards practical technology that best serves a short-term bottom line.

“In a way, 2022 was about escapism…trying to find a new playing field for all of us to play on,” said Elav Horwitz, senior vice president of global innovation and head of creative partnerships at McCann Worldgroup. “I think CES 2023 is going to be more about being realistic and realistic.”

Top of that list are retail media chains, which are expected to have a bigger presence in event advertising and the media-focused C-Space this year. Walmart will have a much bigger presence at the show this year as it tries to push its Walmart Connect ads arm, much like Amazon Ads.

“A big area of ​​interest is this explosion in retail media,” said Michael Kassan, chief executive of management consultancy MediaLink, which is known for having a large presence at CES. “Projections that 12% of media will be retail media spend with Walmart, Kroger, Albertsons, Target and every other retailer rightfully seeing this as a massive potential growth area.”

Economic uncertainty could curb assistance

Experts say a recession expected in the first quarter of next year could also dampen attendance as travel budgets are likely to be squeezed in the first week after the holidays. That could make the presence of some industries particularly affected by economic changes, such as advertising.

“I think people are looking at it and saying, ‘I’m going to be more selective about the trips I choose, and a lot of companies, particularly in our industry, announce not only hiring freezes, but also travel holds. in the future”. the last half of this year, and I think that’s carrying over a bit as well,” Kassan said.

Staying ahead of the streaming landscape

As the connected TV industry faces change this year with major streamers restructuring their strategies, Netflix will appear as a major advertiser for the first time as the service tries to boost its new level with advertising with talk slots in the C-Space. The advertising arm of Roku, Samsung, and other device makers will also have a big turnout at the show as they have.

Marketers will be looking for answers on how to stay ahead of the latest moves by streaming services around ad-supported video, such as Disney Plus launching its own ad-supported option, Kassan said. “Everyone is going to be seeing the tea leaves there and understanding how brands will really survive and thrive in a broadcast in a connected TV world.”

‘Human security’ will shape the show

Many of the activations and showcases hosted by attending brands will also have a slant towards sustainability or social good in keeping with this year’s event theme. LG Electronics, a major player at the fair each year, will highlight its sustainability goals with an exhibit called “Better Life for All,” and Samsung will present its vision for “sustainable innovations.”

“I’ve found that sustainability is going to be important this year,” Horwitz said. “I hope the innovations we see are more practical, humanized, and aimed at doing good in the world this year.”

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