New York – In case you had any doubts, Black Friday has arrived
early this year.
That was one of the trends discussed at the annual Consumer
Electronics Association (CEA) International CES Press Preview here yesterday by
Shawn DuBravac, chief economist and research director, and Steve Koenig,
industry analysis director, who highlighted what to expect during upcoming
holiday season and International CES.
No. 1 on the list of trends for the holiday season were
event-driven sales — a.k.a. Black Friday and Cyber Monday.
Perhaps unsurprisingly, DuBravac added that major appliances were
expected to play a larger role in this year’s sales promotions. “Appliances
have started to pick up on this trend, and retailers have started to load the
channel in advance of Black Friday as well. It would make sense that a lot of
these retailers selling electronics are also selling appliances and will try to
drive that momentum.”
Koenig joked, “We haven’t seen MP3 player docks in laundry but
you never know.”
Bundles were expected to be prominent during the fourth quarter
(especially video game bundles), as well as what DuBravac and Koenig named “the
50 percent rule.”
According to DuBravac, “New technologies see half of their volume
show up in the fourth quarter. As a product matures, that percentage declines,
but in the early years, it is above 50 percent. We see a lot of new product
categories that can take advantage of this relationship.
“[Consumers] like to give new products, they like to get new
products [during the holidays]. We see things like tablets, connected devices,
game accessories … I think you’ll see a lot of products that are well-positioned
to take advantage of this rule,” he said.
Regarding International CES, held Jan. 6-9 in Las Vegas, Koenig
and DeBravac displayed the four trends that CEA expects to dominate the show.
The first, what they termed “portability vs. pocketabilty,” is thought to be a
direct result of the iPad. “It’s portable but not pocketable, and that has
changed how we talk about mobility,” said DuBravac. “It used to be that when we
talked about mobility, we talked about laptops vs. desktops … [but now] it’s
about grabbing the device that’s most meaningful given the context.”
The notion of secondary features taking primary roles was the
second trend on CEA’s list, and DuBravac and Koenig cited vehicles and printers
Miniaturization and “Sensorization” were next on the list. With
sensors getting smaller and less expensive, new devices are being empowered.
DuBravac said, providing Microsoft’s Kinect as an example. “It has four
microphones, three cameras, a variety of other sensing technologies. None of
the sensors in it of themselves are new, but by pulling them together you
create this … transformation.”
Apps, of course, will also play a role at CES, and the pair
listed this as the fourth and final trend. Koenig noted, “One thing to look for
is the cross-platform connectivity. This has not happened yet, but I think
we’ll see it at CES.”