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.

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