By Paul Gagnon, Ben Arnold and Mike Crosby
It was good to see CES continuing its recovery since the end of the pandemic. It was full of energy, innovation and enthusiasm. From conversations with many at the show as well as our own research, here are several takeaways that we hope will guide manufacturers, retailers and others involved in consumer technology for 2024.
We forecast a return to revenue growth in the industry of 2%, back-end loaded to the second half of the year and hinging on a core question: what will it take for consumers to upgrade/purchase new products: a drop in interest rates, new innovation, what type of innovation (AI, performance, updated form factor, new category, something else?), promotions/discounts, et al.
Adjust the Picture in TVs
TV smart platforms are a key driver of differentiation and retail strategy for brands and the supply chain. This was a significant topic of discussion at CES given the market shift toward lower price points in 2023 that we predict will continue in 2024. Retailers and brands will continue to negotiate on which OS is optimal for the channel.
Brands continue to roll out new innovations designed to encourage consumers to trade up in picture quality without creating too significant of a price step up. Incorporating mini-LED technology into LCD TVs has emerged as a competitive alternative to the premium segment.
At the other end of the spectrum, several brands showcased TVs larger than 98”, including 100” and 110” in models from Hisense and 115” from TCL with aggressive plans for growth in 2024, pushing the boundaries on pricing.
Smart Homes Will Get Smarter
Virtually every new device for the home we saw at CES was Matter compatible, demonstrating that brands remain committed to the spec, despite its slow roll out. We forecast the Home Automation category to grow 2% after two years of negative growth. There will be pockets of opportunity that expand more quickly, such as Smart Locks, where we project 6% revenue growth. Smart locks are a logical extension for companies already developing security cameras and smart doorbells.
Large consumer electronics companies and niche players alike demonstrated new home electrification and storage solutions this year, including a focus on whole home batteries, backup systems, solar changing and electric generators.
Innovation Roars Back in PCs
Improved personalization and connection will drive the PC experience in 2024. AI will enable PCs to continue becoming the user’s proactive partner and not just a tool. Intelligent assistants will anticipate the user’s needs, suggest relevant documents, automate repetitive tasks and even potentially predict deadlines.
Higher performance PCs, equipped with next-generation graphics cards will deliver a hyper-realistic gaming experience. Advanced VR and AR headsets will blur the line between reality and virtual worlds, which combined with streaming platforms, personalized content recommendations and seamless cross-platform gaming will create an unparalleled immersive experience.
The WiFi 7 certification standard became official on January 8 and it will unlock blazing fast speeds and rock-solid stability, think 46 Gbps for WiFi 7 versus 9.6 Gbps for WiFi 6 (which is admittedly plenty fast). However, final ratification of the standard will likely not be complete until the end of the year, so we will all have to wait a little longer.
With pandemic uncertainty gone and innovators focused on what they are best at – innovating – CES 2024 was a strong predictor of a return to growth for the consumer tech industry.