2021’s Consumer Electronics Show looked a little different this year because the show was entirely virtual thanks to COVID-19. The pandemic’s impact was also felt in the show’s theme, as technology’s largest companies framed their innovations against the “new normal” that we’re all experiencing.
Living, working, homeschooling, exercising, and discovering ways to stay entertained are largely taking place from our homes these days, which necessitates a shift in how daily technology is used, and brands are very cognizant of this. The most prominent themes included:
- Multi-purpose functionality: consumers demand personalization and customization from their products
- Health and wellness: sanitization is at the forefront of everyone’s mind, along with mental and physical health
- Immersive experience: content consumption is on the rise as we all seek an escape from daily life
- Smart getting smarter: “smart” products, like interactive speakers or remote lighting, are now more than just wi-fi connected—as “smart homes” become more prevalent, smart products are able to help with daily tasks
How do these themes actually come through in physical form? Televisions are becoming bigger, brighter, and more powerful in the ongoing quest for more immersive home theater experiences. Connected home dashboards and physical training capabilities are built-in. Robots use UV light to sanitize common spaces without putting frontline workers at risk. Refrigerators are endlessly customizable as people invest in their dream homes. Connected health products seamlessly share real-time stats with doctors or help individuals monitor elderly loved ones from hours away. More future-facing, there are now robots that even pour wine and do your laundry.
As we look at how the evolving technology impacts our clients and work, we’re thinking about how we can provide true utility to consumers and make daily life easier—whether that’s through removing friction from tasks or chores, keeping loved ones happy and healthy, or providing an entertaining escape from the day-to-day. No one has been left unaffected by the pandemic, and many of the shifts in our behavior are expected to remain long after COVID ends. These are smart considerations for all brands as we plan for 2021 and beyond.