Accessories Presence As Strong As Ever At CES
By John Laposky On Jan 10 2012 - 6:01am
LAS VEGAS —
As the inevitable onslaught of tablets,
3D and OLED TVs garner the headlines at this year’s
International CES, the universe of accessories will
again make up the bulk of introductions at the show.
A plethora of new add-on peripheral options present
retailers with an opportunities to add valuable margin
points to sales, while enhancing the performance of
the majority of new CE innovations for the consumer.
This year’s show reflects the state of an industry
that is relying more on performance enhancement,
be it better sound, better connectivity and, especially,
the enhanced performance of the human body
through a wealth of fitness and digital health products.
The headphones category exploded in 2011 and
from the looks of things at this year’s show, will continue
to do so in 2012. More than 60 companies will be
showcasing headphones on the show floor, with many
more crowding the off-site tabletop product showcases
and hotel suites. (See below for a sampling.)
Tablets remain a phenomenon, and this year’s crop
of accessories include a vast array of add-on potential
to the hottest tablet of the holiday season, Amazon’s
Kindle Fire. At least a dozen companies are displaying
cases and charging devices — some both in one SKU
— for the millions of consumers who were gifted the
tablet over the recent holiday season.
And while Apple is again absent from this year’s
show, iPad 2 sales are still going strong and the sheer
number of companies bringing accessories for Apple
products is enough of a presence to underscore once
again how influential the company remains even after
the death of it’s visionary head, Steve Jobs, in 2011.
Cases, stands, mounts, screen cleaners, apps,
power solutions, headsets, cables, connectors, docks
and speakers designed for the iPad, as well as the
flood of other-brand tablet PCs and devices debuting
here, are ubiquitous on the show floor.
Power and charging solutions for handheld devices
are also out in force among exhibition booths. After
gaining some critical mass the last three years, wireless
charging solutions in particular will again make a
strong statement at the show. Several companies are
bringing to market products that charge as many as
six devices at once, and the number of solar-powered
charging devices is growing exponentially.
Many of the power solutions debuting here have a
decidedly green angle to them. Dozens of suppliers
are offering products that reduce or eliminate “vampire
power” draw by components that remain plugged in
but are not being used.
Wireless solutions for traditionally wired components
and systems also abound. Many such products
are designed to stream online content or content from
a PC to the TV, or extend Wi-Fi capabilities of an Internet-
connected PC to devices such as smartphones or
handheld gaming devices.
Other categories well represented at this year’s show
are mounts and mounting solutions for increasingly thinner
TVs as well as tablet devices; A/V furniture and storage
solutions for components; and bags and cases in
myriad colors, styles and constructions.