Consumer electronics (CE) trends change every year. Based on innovation and consumer interests and trends, the direction of CE follows the biggest influences.
In 2020, the COVID-19 pandemic was a major influence on everything from remote work to health care. Other developments from mixed reality (MR) to cybersecurity have also been invaluable.
For the coming year, these predictions are what will shape CE.
1. Remote Work
The world shifted to remote work in 2020. This change required computers, microphones, cameras, keyboards and plenty of new household appliances like coffee makers. As the coronavirus pandemic continues throughout 2021, a major consumer electronics trend will be a continued focus on remote work and tech.
Consumers should keep an eye out for high-quality cameras and microphones, newer apps that focus on working from home and new gadgets. Televisions, monitors, routers, noise-canceling headphones — retailers will focus on what consumers need while at home.
Robotics and automation were big in 2020. As people shifted to remote work, in-person manufacturing and cleaning fell to robotics and automatic systems to carry out. 2021 will take this trend and make it a norm.
Robots can handle countless repetitive and tedious tasks within the span of a day. Workers can then focus on other tasks while remote. In fact, one robot could carry out the work equivalent to 3 – 4 human employees.
3. VR and AR
In the gaming world, virtual reality (AR) and augmented reality (AR) have been on a steady rise. Games like “Pokémon Go” use AR abilities to bring games into the real world. PlayStation and Facebook have been developing countless VR games as well.
Retailers will continue this focus in 2021 but also expand it to other industries. Virtual try-ons allow consumers to try on clothes remotely, and virtual furnishings allow customers to place items in their homes before buying. VR tours for real estate will also increase.
4. Voice Search
With the growth of home hubs and virtual assistants like Siri, Google and Alexa, voice searching has become a popular way to gain information and shop. Consumers can use their voice to find channels or content on TV, look up a question or even make purchases.
This integration will grow in consumer electronics in 2021. These popular voice assistants may pop up more in vehicles and TV systems. They offer ease-of-use for whatever system they are a part of — a beloved characteristic among consumers.
The new network is here. 5G is bringing faster speeds than any previous network, which means better connectivity. New gadgets like the iPhone 12 models are already normalizing this network as the next step.
2021 will carry on the innovations that 5G brings. Smart cities will be able to connect better, people can communicate faster, and streaming can happen quicker. 5G will no doubt be a central topic at the upcoming CES 2021 event — taking place from January 11 to January 14 in 2021.
With the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, cybercriminals have seen it as an opportunity. With people searching for information and trying to connect remotely, the cyber world is open to potential risks. In fact, experts saw an 800% surge in cybercrime activity in August 2020 alone.
Consumer electronics in 2021 will focus on improving security protocols in every way possible. End-to-end encryption, biometrics and multi-factor authentication are all common features that retailers and manufacturers should seek to improve on.
7. Health Care
The health care industry has arguably changed more than any other field throughout 2020. With the rapid spread of the virus, people must stay in their homes. Going to doctors’ offices becomes a risk that telehealth solves.
This focus on health has led to other consumer electronics innovations that will spread further in 2021. Wearables like Apple Watch and Fitbit have heart monitoring and fall detection abilities that are sure to get other wearable companies to compete for health care services.
These consumer electronics trends of 2021 will shape how retailers create strategies and change the game for customers. Moreover, these trends are natural evolutions that grow and push the boundaries of what’s possible. 2021 is shaping up to be the most progressive year for tech ever.
Devin Partida is a technology writer and blogger. She is the Editor-in-Chief at ReHack.com, where she covers consumer electronics, apps and tech trends.