What’s hot at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) this year? Although the event was smaller, you wouldn’t know it from the high energy conversations found online. Let’s see what consumer and market intelligence reveals about CES themes and emerging trends.
In this piece, we’ll focus on:
- CES themes and emerging trends
- Influencer activity with the CES audience
- CES innovations pointing to future trends
And here are a few facts and figures about the show to lend context to the conversation:
- CES has been both the proving-ground and launchpad for tech innovation since the first show back in 1967. Products and advancements unveiled at the show run from the VCR to 5G technology and everything in-between.
- CES is the most impactful tech show in the world and has a huge magnetic pull. The 2020 event featured over 4400 exhibitors sprawled out over 2.9 million net square feet and drew over 171,000 attendees from across the globe.
- Social media reach surrounding the event is explosive. Last year’s event stimulated 839k mentions of CES 2020 across social platforms with over 6k tweets per hour during the event. Social sentiment trended heavily positive at 87%.
CES Themes & Emerging Trends
In a recent post, we touched on some of the over-arching themes and emerging trends that had everybody talking before CES 2021. And now that the event has come and gone, social listening paints the picture in vivid detail.
Initial consumer intelligence in the weeks leading up to the event revealed the hot-ticket conversations, which revolved around innovative graphics cards and next-gen processors, electric vehicles and smart-home gadgets, just to name a few. And there are cool gadgets galore to accommodate every interest, from touchless smart faucets:
Toilets with proximity sensors and voice-activated, aromatherapy tubs:
To transparent, collapsible TVs that live at the end of your bed:
And wireless, phone-sensing mechanisms that can unlock new capabilities (and your front door):
Emerging Trends on Display
And now that the social dam has burst, we can filter through the conversations to pick up on the momentum of these emerging trends. To that end, we screened the general CES conversation using six tags to gain insight into the dynamics currently propelling industry trends.
- Smart home tech
- Artificial intelligence
- elearning & remote work solutions
- AR & VR
And because people’s time spent at home has increased exponentially since last year, it’s no wonder that the smart-home tech and gaming topics feature so prominently in conversational volume.
As of this writing, the online buzz around CES hasn’t quite died down yet, and these six conversations already represent just over 2/3rds of CES 2021 mentions. They’re trending positively at 88%, which tracks closely with last year. And that gives the initial impression that having their first-ever virtual tradeshow hasn’t come with negative blowback.
Smartphones and laptops ate up the lion’s share of top keywords this year, representing highly sought-after components across multiple conversations, including 5G, elearning & telework, m-commerce and gaming. Here are the top keywords with our conversational tags highlighted within.
As you can see, TCL is currently trending at the top of the media conversation following the release of the TCL 20 5G, which expands their next-gen 5G smartphone line-up while balancing functionality with affordability. Two words that consumers love.
And Samsung leads in the company mentions department by a long shot, which we’ll touch more on in a bit.
Influencers Capture CES Crowd
It’s always interesting to note the differences in the influencers that resonate with the public on social media versus those getting the most traction through traditional media outlets. Sometimes with events like this, the disparity in influencer conversations can be vast, and other times they’re more unified.
Regardless, your consumer and market intelligence should be informed by both angles to ensure a concrete understanding. Here’s who people are talking about over the last week in the CES conversation on social media.
Dr. Lisa Su, CEO of AMD, and Jim Ryan, CEO of Sony Playstation, are trending prominently this week after delivering their keynotes. And we can also see singer-songwriter Billie Eilish rising into the picture after her performance on the iHeartMedia session, which also featured a fireside chat between TV personality Ryan Seacrest and pop icon Dua Lipa.
Zooming out on the social spectrum to the last thirty days paints a broader picture of who’s made the most significant impact thus far in the overall CES narrative. Here’s a look at that in Quid Social.
And for the complete picture, here’s who the media has focused on over the same time frame.
Comparing the two, only Verizon Chairman & CEO Hans Vestberg has gained traction in both traditional media and social media. That said, his keynote address touching on the future of 5G technology has garnered broad interest.
LG’s Virtual Influencer
And interestingly, one of the influencers found at CES this year isn’t of the human variety at all. LG Electronics used what they term as a ‘virtual influencer,’ an AI-powered avatar named Reah Keem, to unveil their new tech offerings – a savvy format for a virtual tradeshow.
And on another note, everyone was waiting with bated breath after Samsung alluded to a new collaboration with the K-pop supergroup BTS leading up to this year’s event. And they did not disappoint, landing a “Best of Innovation” award, along with 44 other Samsung awards for consumer tech excellence!
CES Innovations Informing Future Trends
Consumers have had a long time to adjust to working, learning and playing at home, and tech companies are innovating for the future. CES is a massively big deal to these companies, and a look into the hashtags at the top of the conversation reveals a different perspective to the conversation as opposed to keywords.
Artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning mentions are white-hot right now. And rightfully so as the technology is increasingly found in everything. For example, Samsung and LG went head-to-head on AI-capable refrigerators at last year’s show. And one of the brand’s many trending announcements from this year is Samsung’s JetBot 90 AI+ vacuum cleaner, which teaches itself the layout of your house to clean it most efficiently. And that includes picking up after your dog chews up a plush toy – while playing videos of dogs on the TV to keep them calm.
It’s one of the newest examples of what is sure to be a long, bright future between AI and IoT.
Here’s what the conversation looks like when we isolate the CES conversation for just our AI tag. The sentiment is through the roof at 94% positive and shows AI going into everything from next-gen car displays to cognitive TVs and everything in-between.
2020 was a nitrous boost to an already booming tech industry. And CES 2021 was crammed with products and services from innovators that leaned into the consumer intelligence to meet the needs and expectations we have for our new normal.