The Top Three Trends From CES 2018

Voice is the new touch, the connected car is the new playground for OOH marketers, and more.

In spite of the convention center blackout, this year’s CES managed to shed light on some significant transformations in the tech space — and no, it’s no longer all about AR/VR.

Below, our top three takeaways from the show that marketers need to know now.

Assistance Is The ‘New Battleground For Growth’

As Google President of the Americas Allan Thygesen put it, in today’s day and age, “when we want something, we expect our phone to tell us where the product is being sold at a store nearby, and even tell us if it’s in stock this very moment. And when we are ready to transact, we expect it to be frictionless and fast.”

As such, brands “have to be ready to assist. And assistance is really the new battleground for growth. As expectations of the empowered consumer continue to rise, the most assistive brands will win.”

Across CES, we saw examples of this idea built into different kinds of tech: Kuaifit’s “connected coach” was just one of many fitness assistants designed to offer personalized run routes, training, and more. Toyota announced that “intelligent assistance” would be available in its vehicles by the end of the year with the integration of Amazon Alexa. As customers increasingly turn to voice-based assistants to power their daily lives and to make their purchases similar, this trend will matter across verticals.

Essentially, brands need to think about how — or even if — they’re getting discovered, particularly in voice searches and via intelligent assistants. After all, the time to win customers over is at the exact moment they ask for help.

Voice Is The New Touch

In a related trend, voice has already functionally become the new touch. Pandora’s Susan Panico told GeoMarketing that the platform has seen a 300 percent increase in listening via voice-activated speakers, and research from JWT and Mindshare released in 2017 supported the idea that voice is “cognitively easier” for humans than text/swipe — meaning that most of us will find our way there eventually.

“One of the biggest trends isn’t even really a trend — it’s here and now: Voice. We’re really seeing everything being controlled with voice, and audio becoming the new touch,” Panico said. “And as more people adopt [voice-first] connected home devices, it’s really important for marketers to think about that you’re in a very intimate environment.”

Connected Cars Are The New OOH Frontier

In two particulary buzzed-about launches, Fisker Inc. debuted its EMotion electric car at CES, and Byton previewed its “smart, intuitive vehicle” that’s projected to hit the market in 2019 at an accessible starting price point of 45K.

With people worldwide spending actual billions of hours in cars commuting each day, increased in-car connectivity — internet, built-in tablets, a potential coast-to-coast smart dash — the in-car environment is quickly becoming a battleground for marketers in the out-of-home space. After all, the trend away from looking at billboards towards looking down at a phone screen has already occurred; as connectivity increases, marketers will need to find more ways to play within the car rather than without.

About The Author
Lauryn Chamberlain Lauryn Chamberlain @laurynchamberla

Lauryn Chamberlain is the Associate Editor of A New York City based journalist, she specializes in stories related to retail, dining, hospitality, and travel.