Predicting the Trends Everyone Will be Talking About at CES

Carol Feigenbaum |
 01/06/21 |
5 min read

The Consumer Electronics Show (CES) is next week and promises to feature a host of new tech innovations and emerging trends as always. CES has been a yearly staple for the tech industry since 1967 and isn’t going to let the pandemic slow it down.

To be held January 11-14, the event marks the first time that CES has been conducted virtually and will surely lean heavily into the growth of tech that has sustained us throughout 2020. Here, we’ll look at some of the CES trends that everyone will be talking about, with a focus on:

  • What all the buzz is about this year
  • Mixing things up by going virtual
  • Digital solutions for our new normal

And here are a few tech-related market intelligence statistics that are driving momentum these days:

  • The 5G IoT market stood at $398M in 2019 and is expected to approach $8B by 2026, representing an eye-watering CAGR of 53.3%.
  • School closures have affected roughly 70% of students worldwide, fueling the growth of the e-learning industry, which is globally forecast to top $305B by 2025.
  • Spurred on by the pandemic, global revenue in the video game industry grew by 19.6% in 2020 to reach $179.7B.

With that, let’s take a quick look at what’s got people talking this year.

Tech Trends Driving the CES Conversation

It’s been a crazy year, and we’ve leaned in hard to all things tech to see us through. Due to lockdowns and social distancing, consumers have radically altered how they work and play, expanding into the digital frontier like never before. As such, 2020 has been a banner year for tech innovations, and the future is looking bright.

Consumers are ever hungry for the latest upgrades to improve their workflow and enhance their standard of living, and CES is sure to deliver. Based on this year’s emerging trends, here are a few areas that we expect to see a lot of coverage:

  • 5G devices and conversations around expanded coverage
  • New VR/AR headsets and associated technologies
  • Work-from-home tech, including monitors, peripherals, etc.
  • New CPU and graphics card technologies from brands such as Intel, AMD and Nvidia
  • Fintech, blockchain and cryptocurrency discussions
  • Everything IoT from the smart home to telehealth
  • Electric and autonomous vehicle enhancements

And using market intelligence to our advantage, here’s a look at the top keywords in the recent media conversation.

From a social media listening perspective, consumers appear to highly anticipate this year’s event as net sentiment comes in at a lofty 84% on a scale of -100 to 100. Here’s a look at the storyscope tool, which reveals the brands and products leading the social and consumer intelligence conversation around this year’s show.

As you can see, LG Electronics has built quite the online buzz going into this year’s event. And while we’re on the topic of sentiment, let’s see how people feel about the new virtual format.

CES – Something Different

The tradeshow industry utterly collapsed in the first couple weeks of March as word of the coronavirus spread. As such, in-person tradeshows dependent on large gatherings, travel and hospitality likely won’t see a revival until the pandemic is brought under control.

But being true to the spirit of innovation behind CES, the Consumer Technology Association (CTA) announced back in July that the show would go on in an all-virtual format this year. It’s a brilliant move that leverages tech solutions to circumvent fears around public health and corporate liabilities while giving exhibitors enough time to adjust for a digital tradeshow structure.

CES has grown over the years into the world’s biggest technology conference and is one of the top shows in the U.S. And we’re not just talking numbers in attendees and exhibitors; CES in 2019 covered nearly three million square feet in floor space.

That being the case, it’ll be interesting to watch how the virtual tradeshow itself is received and what parts, if any, are adopted into in-person events as the pandemic fades. Who knows – perhaps events in the future will keep a virtual component for a hybrid experience that maximizes reach.

Regardless, last year’s event ended up at 74% positive net sentiment after the social conversation died down – which will be a good measure of this year’s success after all is said and done. Here’s what that conversation looked like at the end of last January in terms of sentiment and top emotions.

And judging by the sentiment going into this year’s event, consumers and exhibitors alike are pumped to see the emerging trends and what CES 2021 has in store – the fact that it’s virtual seems to be no more than a side note. Here are the top emotions returned this year, for comparison’s sake.


Everything Virtual for Our New Normal 

CES is sure to usher in better versions of the tech we’ve come to rely on this year. Brands are undergoing their own digital transformation as consumers fast-track their tech dependency. Much of the vernacular surrounding our daily activities now wears a prefix such as telehealth, telework and e-learning, indicating our digital transformation.

But you know what they say about all work and no play though, and people are spending record amounts of time streaming music, VOD services and engaging others online in games and esports.

And these appetites are driving the tech conversation around the CES show this year. The Quid Social product reveals market intelligence including the most anticipated products and talked-about brands leading up to the event.


As you can see, AMD products such as the Radeon RX XT graphics card and Ryzen series processors are taking up a large part of the social conversation. Users keen on computer performance and gaming are aware that these products are being unveiled at CES, and social media listening reveals much anticipation.

Consumers are also interested in Samsung foldables and the Galaxy S21, which hasn’t been formally announced yet. This isn’t a shocker as mobile phones have become so integral to our pandemic lifestyles by way of m-commerce and mobile gaming.

Electric vehicles and sustainability are two accelerated trends that are driving innovation this year. And that extends to the Fisker Ocean SUV, set for release in 2022, which markets itself as the world’s greenest vehicle. On the media side of the conversation, the Fisker Ocean Electric SUV topic cluster is by far the biggest in our CES 2021 analysis.


But to underscore the importance of social media listening to catch emerging trends, this conversation was barely a blip on the media radar in last year’s media analysis of CES 2020. In contrast, the topic did catch the attention of social media users’ hip to EVs, as you can see below:


CES 2021 is still carrying the anticipation of years gone by – while adapting to a new digital format. And interest in the event is spread between tech enthusiasts, brand innovators and tradeshow facilitators alike. The market intelligence and consumer intelligence to be gained here is multi-dimensional, to say the least.

One thing’s for sure though, consumers are going to turn online in droves talking about what they love from this event. And it could be the rumblings of trends yet to emerge in the mainstream. Is your brand dialed in to capture the online chatter around the advancements significant to your industry? Reach out for a demo, and we’ll help you set the stage for a dynamic 2021!

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