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CES 2024: Manufacturers Bank on AI and Assistive Tech To Drive Revenue Growth

1/30/2024
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CES has returned to its pre-pandemic glory as brands showcase an expanded range of innovative appliances and electronics due to supply chain normalisation. New entrants and established players highlighted advances in assistive technology, products and services catering for enthusiasts, and the specific value of sensor integration.

Assistive tech in promising position to meet needs of growing number of people with disabilities and ageing populations

In recent years, startups, major brands, and partnerships such as the AARP Collaborative have made significant technological improvements in devices and services that cater for those with disabilities and ageing populations.

In 2024, 28% of consumers in developed markets will be over 60 years old, and this demographic is projected to grow to 30% by 2030 as life expectancy extends due to greater access to advanced health care

Source: Euromonitor International

As the average lifespan lengthens, the number of consumers who develop disabilities is expected to increase. Appliances and electronics manufacturers have a tremendous opportunity to serve this growing demographic, promoting greater independence for these communities.

Image showing people in a restaurantSource: Xander

One standout solution in the wearable electronics space includes XanderGlasses, developed by startup Xander, which provides real-time captioning to individuals who are hard of hearing or deaf. In work, home, and crowded, noisy environments, the augmented reality technology isolates a key audio source for the user and provides real-time captioning.

The lightweight AR/VR headsets do not require cloud or smartphone connectivity, enhancing the accessibility of the devices and differentiating the headset from other players in the rapidly evolving AR/VR headset space, which is projected to experience a volume CAGR of 10.9% between 2024 and 2027

Source: Euromonitor International

Startups integrate AI and services into smart appliances

In the small cooking and food preparation appliance space, manufacturers differentiate through superior automated performance enhanced by optimised sensor integration and connecting ingredient and recipe services to the appliance. These smart features provide convenience and customisation to enthusiasts, a consumer type primarily in the premium space that invests heavily in categories of interest such as coffee, espresso, and beer.

The demographic that reports the highest ownership of smart appliances by generation and household income are millennials earning over USD150,000, with 39.9% of survey respondents in that group reporting owning a smart appliance in 2023, compared to 20.9% of baby boomers in the same income bracket

Source: Euromonitor International’s Voice of the Consumer: Lifestyles Survey, (fielded January to February 2023, n = 397-5,078)

This consumer segment expanded over the pandemic as consumers invested in hobbies and interests due to home isolation policies and a temporary influx in disposable income due to fiscal stimulus packages in developed economies.

Photo showing a coffee brewer and appSource: Exobrew

Several appliance startups showcased at CES 2024, including Exobrew, the smart brewer with a connected app that monitors the brewing process, allows users to order customised ingredients based on tasting preferences for home delivery through a subscription service, and to publish recipes in the Exobrew community app. Every step in the brewing process takes place in a single vessel, and it is self-cleaning, essentially making brewing hands-free.

Photo of a Mila air dehumidifierSource: Mila

The air treatment space is also experiencing significant innovation, driven by sticky consumer interest in home hygiene and comfort post-pandemic. Mila Cares, a smart air treatment company, is launching Halo, the first combined humidifier and air purifier that addresses air quality concerns in humidifiers, with its advanced water filtration system. Halo provides users the comfort of a humidifier without reducing indoor air quality, which occurs through the aerosolization of bacteria and other particulates in tap water in traditional humidifiers. Built-in sensors monitor carbon monoxide, water levels and quality, and temperature and humidity to users through Mila’s connected app.

As supply chains normalise post-pandemic, manufacturers ramp up innovation

During the pandemic, appliances and electronics manufacturers invested heavily in restructuring supply chain operations, increasing cost-effectiveness and minimising exposure to macroeconomic challenges and risks, placing them in a stable position post-pandemic. With the chip shortage ending and the cost of smart sensor integration into IoT devices relatively low, manufacturers have accelerated the production of smart devices.

In 2024, key pillars of global growth will weaken as restrictive monetary policy and depleting savings will slow consumer spending and lower business investments. As sales of consumer appliances and electronics start to slow down, manufacturers can no longer rely on low prices to encourage consumers to buy products.

In this challenging macro environment, manufacturers can differentiate through the integration of AI and explore new business opportunities such as Assistive Tech, as an ageing global population’s needs evolve.

Download our new white paper, Smart Homes: How to Unlock the Potential, for in-depth trend descriptions, case studies, and strategic recommendations.

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