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Event Coverage 11 minutesFree Report

CES 2023 Wrap-Up: Lots of Gadgets but Less Sizzle

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What's Inside

The Coresight Research team attended CES 2023 in Las Vegas on January 5–8, 2023. In this report, we present insights and highlights from the event.

We review opportunities for retailers presented by Deborah Weinswig, CEO and Founder of Coresight Research, and cover new health and wellness gadgets, the conference’s social direction, self-driving and electric cars, augmented reality and adaptive consumer technology, and a focus on air quality.

Companies mentioned in this report include: L’Oréal, Panasonic, Qualcomm, Sony, Tylenol

Other relevant research:

This report is available for free and can be accessed by registering for a free account.

Executive Summary

Coresight Research Insights

  1. Retailers can RESET to address their biggest challenges.
  2. CES displayed a plethora of gadgets but few new technology concepts.
  3. In-person attendance was back, mostly.
  4. CES embarked on a social direction in 2023.
  5. Self-driving cars have evolved into mobility objects.
  6. Electric vehicles will become our new entertainment and shopping spaces.
  7. Augmented reality will be the simpler and more easily accessible portal to Web 3.0 and the metaverse.
  8. There was a rich offering of useful health and wellness gadgets.
  9. Consumer tech is becoming adaptive and focused on helping specific groups.
  10. Air quality was a major product theme.
Introduction

The Coresight Research team attended CES (formerly the Consumer Electronics Show), hosted by the Consumer Technology Association (CTA) in Las Vegas January 5–8, 2023. The event brought together technology vendors, innovators, retailers and people from around the world to get an early look at key consumer electronics trends in the new year. The scope of CES has expanded in recent years beyond electronic gadgets to encompass new areas such as healthcare, wearable devices and mobility. This year, the show had a strong metaverse focus.

In this report, we present our top 10 insights from the full event.

CES 2023 Wrap-Up: Coresight Research Insights

 

1. Retailers Can RESET To Address Their Biggest Challenges

Deborah Weinswig, CEO and Founder of Coresight Research, delivered a presentation and led a panel discussion on solving retail’s greatest challenges, for which the Coresight Research RESET framework provides a recipe to help retailers respond to short-term consumer needs while ensuring long-term success. The RESET framework comprises five components:

  • Responsive. Retailers need to be responsive to accelerated structured frugality, which requires businesses to reconsider non-core costs, such as shrink and GNFR (goods not for resale).
  • Engaging. Retailers drive consumer engagement across physical and digital retail by managing brand building, experiences, technology integration and services and experimenting with livestreaming and social commerce to foster loyalty, as well as renewing the physical store.
  • Socially Responsible. There is a clear opportunity for brands and retailers to adopt sustainable commerce practices, such as recommerce, to attract more conscious consumers through brand values. Increasing sustainability can drive topline expansion and enhance margins.
  • Expansive. Retailers can pursue alternative revenue streams through offering retail-adjacent services, such as retail media, paid memberships and data for sale. Coresight Research estimates that retailers can generate $1–5 million in revenue from media and shopper insights for every $1 billion in revenue.
  • Tech-Enabled. Retailers should invest in tech-enabled solutions to increase productivity, such as prescriptive analytics, which can improve the management of inventory and assortment, enhance customer service, optimize staffing, reduce markdowns and reduce shrink.

 

Coresight Research CEO and Founder Deborah Weinswig
Source: Coresight Research

 

2. A Plethora of Gadgets but Few New Technology Concepts

The technologies presented at CES tend to run in cycles: a new technology is introduced, then applications are developed during the next five or so years. Recently introduced or perfected groundbreaking technologies include artificial intelligence (AI), robotics, cloud computing and 5G wireless technologies, although 2023 saw examples of the metaverse in earnest.

Steve Koenig, VP of Research at CTA, emphasized that economic downturns result in surges in technological innovation. Koenig remarked that we are in the early stages of one trend in enterprise tech innovation—featuring transformation of the enterprise—and on the cusp of another one, centered on automation and virtualization, as illustrated below.

Source: CTA

 

3. The Return of In-Person Attendance… Mostly

Although an in-person CES did take place last year, many large tech companies canceled due to concerns surrounding the Omicron variant, which had emerged in the fall, and 45,000 people attended CES, a fraction of the 171,000 attendees seen in 2020. 

The CTA expected 100,000 attendees in 2023, though we heard whispers of actual attendance of two-thirds that figure. The attendance of the Media Days was light at first but picked up toward the end. In any case, speakers and attendees rejoiced at the ability to meet in person again, and CTA offered to host the keynotes online through the end of February for those still reluctant or unable to attend in person. 

The photo below shows the mob of people awaiting the opening of the doors to the Eureka Park area on the first day of the show.

 

People waiting to enter Eureka Park
Source: Coresight Research

 

4. A New Social Direction

CES undertook a change in direction in 2023, pivoting from technologies into more social themes. Key social themes at the conference presented by the CTA, companies and speakers included the following:

  • Sustainability. The reduction in carbon emissions from electric vehicles has been a theme for several years, and automobile makers usually give at least one of the keynote addresses. Automaker Stellantis announced its net-zero targets in addition to several new and concept electric vehicles. Global technology company Panasonic devoted its entire press conference to discussing its efforts in sustainability.
  • Human security. Taking a more social turn, the CTA discussed how technology can play a role in promoting human security, a concept introduced in 1994 by the UN (United Nations), in terms of food, access to healthcare, personal income, environmental protection, personal safety, community security and political freedom.
  • Diversity and inclusion. In 2020, CES hosted a keynote from Intel, which announced its goal of putting women in 40% of technical posts by 2030. This year’s show continued to highlight the voices of women and diverse experts. One of the main keynotes was presented by Dr. Lisa Su, CEO of chipmaker Advanced Micro Devices (AMD).
  • Adaptive products. At the Unveiled product showcase, L’Oréal demonstrated its HAPTA handheld makeup applicator that holds a lipstick steady for users with limited mobility or tremors, offering 360 degrees of rotation.

 

AMD CEO Dr. Lisa Su
Source: Coresight Research

 

5. Self-Driving Cars Evolve into Mobility Objects

While Mercedes-Benz demonstrated a self-driving concept car at CES 2019, this technology has not yet hit showrooms due to the technological and social complexity of such a vehicle. However, the technology continues to evolve and pilot testing continues. Although the technology has been demonstrated to work and robot drivers are possibly better than human ones, autonomous passenger vehicles will need to operate with near perfection to receive acceptance. 

In the meantime, CES has broadened the concept of autonomous vehicles to include vehicles that travel on land, sea and air. We saw a delivery robot from Ottonomy that is currently in use in airports. The newest model (Yeti) can drop off packages. 

Israeli startup Carteav offers essentially autonomous golf carts for operation within controlled residential environments.

 

Ottonomy delivery robot
Source: Coresight Research

 

6. Electric Vehicles: Our New Entertainment and Shopping Spaces

At last year’s CES, Nvidia gave a presentation outlining its products and strengths for outfitting the interior of future electric vehicles, and that technology continues to advance. 

We spent time in a prototype made by Qualcomm that offers interior sound, video and even the ability to modulate sound volume for each passenger. The vision of the future is that passengers will listen to music, watch videos, access the Internet, shop and even be able to play video games inside a vehicle. 

At the Covesa showcase, which was dedicated to products for electric vehicles, we saw Mavi.io, which offers a platform for in-car commerce, and the photo below shows ordering food on a vehicle entertainment system. We also saw a company at a showcase that offers an in-car karaoke system by Singing Machine.

 

Ordering a burrito with Mavi.io’s in-car commerce system
Source: Coresight Research

 

7. Augmented Reality: A Portal to Web 3.0 and the Metaverse

While many software developers anticipate that virtual reality (VR) will be the most immersive portal to the metaverse and Web 3.0, many solutions seem to be concentrating on augmented reality (AR) technologies, which offer comparable degrees of immersion but also powerfully link the real and virtual worlds. There were numerous examples of cutting-edge AR solutions and technology at CES, and we believe that individuals will reach the metaverse more easily and practically by using AR.

 

Web3 Studio at CES
Source: Coresight Research

 

8. A Rich Offering of Useful Health and Wellness Gadgets

We saw wearable tech at CES back in 2015, yet wearable tech today is largely the domain of smartwatches, fitness trackers and purpose-specific devices. Since then, available products have evolved into a broad spectrum of truly helpful and useful devices, including the following:

  • Perfect offers an AR-powered virtual makeup try-on technology that enables customers to view foundations, bronzer, highlighter, lipstick and more as if looking in a mirror. Its tracking technology leverages AI and deep learning capabilities to deliver a hyper-realistic experience that claims to be lag-free and optimized for all ages and ethnicities.
  • Tylenol demonstrated an at-home digital ear scope that enables users (i.e., parents) to capture picture and video of their childrens’ inner ears to share with clinicians to check for ear infections remotely. The images and video can be sent to pediatricians, eliminating costly and time-consuming visits to the doctor’s office.
  • WeWard demonstrated a mobile app that rewards users with “Wards” for walking, which can be converted into cash, gifts or donations to charity. The app has 10 million users who are walking 24% more; $7 million has been given to users and charity; and these walks have prevented the emission of 600,000 tons of carbon dioxide, according to the company.

 

The Perfect app can show virtual try-ons of makeup, jewelry and watches
Source: Coresight Research

 

9. Adaptive Consumer Tech To Help Specific Groups

We saw several products at CES that were adaptive or developed specifically to help target groups, such as seniors. 

  • As mentioned earlier in this report, L’Oréal showcased its HAPTA handheld, smart makeup applicator for people with limited fine motor skills. It uses a magnetic attachment for 360 degrees of rotation and 180 degrees of flexion, plus a locking feature that enables the applicator to stay in position during use.
  • Presage’s e-health system delivers services to support seniors, reducing autonomy loss and hospitalization, using AI to offer predictive alerts to avoid emergency scenarios as well as a personalized prevention plan to improve patient outcomes. 
  • The Japan External Trade Organization (JETRO) hosted 36 Japanese startups at CES 2023. Among those innovators participating in the ShowStoppers Launchit product showcase was SoundFun, whose curved speaker makes it easier for people with hearing loss to hear dialogue on the television.
  • Sony announced an adaptive gaming controller during CES; however, the company did not have a model in its booth.
  • Finally, we saw many earphones and hearing aids, now that the US FDA (Food and Drug Administration) has opened up the market to over-the-counter devices, with the devices costing around one-third of the prescription devices, whose prices run in the high four figures.

 

Eargo hearing device Source: Coresight Research

 

10. Air Quality Emerges as a Major Product Theme

It is understandable that consumers are more interested in indoor air quality, as we continue to contend with a variety of old and new respiratory viruses. Gadget makers have responded to this perceived demand, and we viewed a variety of devices designed for indoor air monitoring, air improvement and protection against airborne disease.

  • Airthings offers devices for indoor air quality monitoring, which analyze the air and monitor for pollutants, identifying radon and particulate matter, including PM2.5 and carbon dioxide.
  • AIRXÔM offers an advanced version of a face mask that actively protects users against respiratory infection, which is effective against viruses and bacteria such as Covid-19, flu, common cold, molds and pollen.
  • Neoplants’ bioengineered plants purify indoor air and fight air pollution. Its plants recycle air pollutants rather than storing them as a traditional plant would do. The company claims that the effect of one Neoplant is equivalent to that of 30 house plants.
  • Respiray produces wearable, drug-free, allergy-free devices to soothe allergy symptoms caused by allergens in the air, including pet dander, pollen, dust and mold. Its device, to be launched at the end of January 2023, is rechargeable and features replaceable filters that leverage HEPA technology.

 

Neoplants’ plants are engineered for air quality
Source: Coresight Research

For more information on products displayed at CES, please see the Coresight Research reports on the product showcases: Unveiled, ShowStoppers and Pepcom Digital Experience!

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