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What To Expect At CES 2023 And This Holiday Season

At CES Unveiled, CTA executives laid out what products and technologies consumers will be buying and gifting this holiday season, and what to expect at CES 2023

(image credit: Stewart Wolpin) from left to right, is CTA Director of Research Lesley Rohrbaugh, SVP, Membership & Sales Kinsey Fabrizio, VP and Acting Show Director, CES, John T. Kelly, and CTA president and CEO Gary Shapiro

CES is usually all about innovation. The focus at CES 2023, however, will be on more than just innovation, but innovation with a purpose. At CES Unveiled in New York City on November 16, 2022, CTA president and CEO Gary Shapiro laid out modern rights that CES and consumer technology would address under the Human Security for All rubric.

Conceived by the U.N. in 1994, these Human Security for All rights, recognize the importance of personal well-being and security pillars tied to an individual’s experience in life, including food, access to health care, personal income, environmental protection, personal safety, community security, and political freedom.

“We didn’t create these rights or securities, but we realized they correspond perfectly to parts of CES, and that’s why we’ve identified with them,” Shapiro explained. “You’ll hear the keynoters speaking about them, you’ll see we have Innovations Awards based on them,” as well as in conference sessions and in dedicated areas of the show floor. Shapiro noted that CTA is partnering with the World Academy of Arts and Sciences (WAAS) “to tell the story about how some of the world’s challenges are being met through innovation and technology.”

Smaller Size, Wider Scope

CES 2023 will not only embrace a more impactful theme of helping the world address its biggest challenges, it will also be a bit smaller. Currently, there are 2,200 exhibitors signed up, half the number of the last pre-pandemic show, CES 2020. According to Shapiro, the discrepancy is largely the loss of smaller Chinese companies impacted by both Covid restrictions as well as ongoing geopolitical issues. Shapiro did note that there is usually a December exhibitor signup boost “so we really don’t know where we’ll end up.” CTA expects more than 100,000 attendees, still well shy of the 175,000 who came to CES in 2020.

Eureka Park already has more than 1,000 exhibitors and “it could go a tremendous amount higher than that,” Shapiro predicted. Mixed among the start-ups at Eureka Park will be 20 country exhibit areas, including Ukraine Tech.

While South Hall will once again remain vacant, the new West Hall is sold out, filled with 300 largely automotive exhibitors, including actual vehicle manufacturers as well as their supply chain and other partners, along with flying and marine vehicle technology, including amphibious land/sea vehicles.
With fewer booths, CTA has been able to widen aisles and more widely spaced booths and seating areas to lessen crowding and lower potential interpersonal health risks.

Show Floor Tech

(image credit: CTA)

CES will start as usual with two media days on January 3 and 4.

Among the specific tech attendees will see will be technologies encompassing Web3, or Web 3.0, including a dedicated Central Hall space. Web3 includes new and emerging concepts such as blockchain, digital assets, and metaverse, and many aspects of CES will deal with how Web3 will impact the way businesses interact with vendors, employees, and customers.

Other specific new and emerging tech categories will include the latest innovations in health and wellness including sleep tech, mental health technology, telehealth, remote patient monitoring, over-the-counter hearing aids, and digital therapeutics, “new and improved ways that folks can really embrace and manage their chronic conditions at home,” explained CTA director of research Lesley Rohrbaugh, “and not necessarily always in a caretaking environment or office.”

Other categories that will be highlighted at CES 2023 will be “ingredient” technologies such as 5G, the cloud, AI, sensors, cyber security, sustainability, and robotics, along with AR/VR, gaming and esports, fintech, autonomous vehicles in West Hall, and Food Tech at the Venetian.

Varying aspects of the metaverse will be represented on the show floor. Most of the real-world metaverse products will focus on the enterprise side, such as corporate and HR training. But expect to see future metaverse tech being demoed that will enable users “to feel the environment around you, to hear the environment around you, to smell the environment around you,” according to Rohrbaugh.

Off the show floor, on January 7, there will be an Indy car auto race at the Las Vegas Motor Speedway – except the “drivers” will be teams of university students competing against one another racing autonomous Indy cars traveling at speeds in excess of 190 MPH.

Really off the show floor–if you can’t make it to CES in person–all the keynotes will be live-streamed, as will a wider selection of conference sessions. Access to these recordings will double from 30 to 60 days after the show. Exhibitors will also have a larger tool kit to enable virtual attendees to browse booths, get information, and make contact.

Holiday Shopping Preview

Before CES 2023, there’s still the holiday shopping season that will launch with Black Friday, the holiday weekend, and through Cyber Monday. Rohrbaugh presented the findings of CTA surveys about what products and technologies shoppers will be shopping for and expecting to receive.

Rohrbaugh noted that “enthusiasm for purchasing tech is hitting an all-time high,” and that CTA was expecting nearly eight in 10 holiday shoppers, 86% of Thanksgiving weekend shoppers, were planning to purchase some sort of tech item on which they would spend an average of $560. Rohrbaugh says 23% more consumers plan to shop on Black Friday than last year, and 20% more on Cyber Monday. How consumers will shop and pay is changing as well; 47% are going to shop online before going to stores, and 20% will pay using digital systems such as Apple Pay.

First on the planning to purchase list was video streaming services. While not exactly something that can be gift-wrapped in a box, a video-streaming gift subscription was something almost half of U.S. adults this year are planning to buy. Additionally, more than a third of U.S. adults plan to purchase a content-related gift within the general gaming or audio categories, including Spotify or Pandora subscriptions.

Smart home devices – especially security devices – are also high on consumer buying lists, as well as the usual smartphones. This year, however, about 30% of smartphone buyers will look at foldable models. Adults want gifts with screens – smartphones, TVs, laptop PCs – but are actually planning to buy a variety of accessories, headphones, earbuds, and other peripheral devices.

Rohrbaugh called out video games and esports being high on many gifter and giftee lists. According to Rohrbaugh, $61 billion was spent on video gaming, there will be a 15% rise in the number of global esports viewers this year, and 61% of consumers spend money on mobile gaming.

See also: Experience A More Touchless Venue At CES 2023