The 2022 edition of CES, being held in a hybrid live/virtual format that’s become a lot more virtual than planned, officially got underway this week with a briefing from Steve Koenig, the Consumer Technology Association’s vice president of research, on the top tech trends at this year’s CES.
The sprawling talk, which lasted about 45 minutes on Monday evening, offered a generalized preview of the main topics of this year’s CES, as well as the year ahead, across four main topics: Technology Demand, Technology Investment, The New Tech Lifestyle and Technology Trends.
The biggest headline from the talk, though, was the Consumer Technology Association (CTA) revealing its U.S. Consumer Tech Industry Forecast for 2022. The industry is projected to reach revenue of $505 billion, reaching an all-time high, and breaking the half-trillion figure for the first time on history.
“The consumer technology industry has shown impressive resilience in the face of supply chain challenges that are affecting almost every sector of the economy,” Gary Shapiro, president and CEO, CTA, said in the release of the forecast shortly after Koenig’s presentation. “The pandemic gave people more time to explore new tech that made their lives healthier, safer and more convenient. We anticipate another year of growth for our industry based on the enormous demand we see from consumers for tech products and services.”
CTA’s press release went on to tout “strong demand for smartphones, automotive tech, health devices and streaming services.”
However, the industry’s domestic growth was seen slowing a bit, only growing 2.8 percent from 2021’s figure of $491 billion, while that figure was itself a 9.6 percent increase from the initial pandemic year of 2020. Software is seen growing 6 percent in 2022, with hardware growing 1.8 percent.
CTA also shared some statistics of what tech grew the most between 2020 and 2021 in the United States. The percentage of households owning 4K TVs grew 16 percent year over year, while those with 2-in-1 notebook or laptops grew 10 percent. Three categories — small appliances, smart doorbells and connected sports of fitness equipment — grew six percent, while soundbars and smart TVs grew 6 percent. Koenig noted how many of the high-growth products had the word “smart” in the name.
To illustrate how important services have become, Koenig noted that as of the end of December, Netflix had 214 subscribers worldwide, Amazon Prime Video had 175 million, Disney+ had 118 million, and Apple TV+ had 20 million.
Koenig also discussed the ongoing chip shortages, and what can be done about it. In the short term, he said, the solution is for existing facilities to ramp up production, with a 16 percent increase in global chip production expected in 2022. While in the longer term, Intel, Samsung and TSMC have begun the process of building new plants, including two facilities planned by Intel in the U.S. However, those won’t be online until sometime in the middle of the decade.
In terms of emerging trends, the talk included discussion of 5G, the next phase of which will entail adoption by the enterprise.
“The real value of 5G is the enterprise quotient, industrial IoT,” Koenig said. This is already beginning to include cloud infrastructure and data centers.
Koenig also discussed the potential of artificial intelligence.
“AI is getting better and better, it can do more things,” he said. He pointed at CTA data showing how comfortable AI consumers are with AI performing certain tasks. In the survey, 78 percent of respondents said they were open to AI “making shopping/purchasing recommendations,” while 77 percent say they are fine with AI cleaning their homes. In the survey, 75 percent said they were open to AI “providing fitness or nutritional advice [or] diet coaching, 71 percent approved of AI being used for “crime prevention/antiterrorism.”
Consumers were less open to other applications. Just 55 percent each were okay with AI “running a factory” or “making financial investment decisions,” while just 52 approved of artificial intelligence “providing legal advice.”
As for the much-touted metaverse, Koenig noted that “the Metaverse is closer than you think,” especially since so many of its “building blocks” are here already, such as 5G, cloud, haptics, volumetric video. And with VR and XR, Koenig pointed to “five pillars”: Virtual meetings, simulations/digital twins, remote collaboration, immersive design and marketing and sales.
Koenig also looked at some additional trends coming to CES throughout the week, including transportation, space tech, sustainable technology, and digital health. While he caveated that “it’ll be awhile before we’re saving our dollars to have a holiday in space, or in orbit,” Koenig stated that space vehicles, including the Dreamchaser Space Craft, will be part of the exhibitions at the show this year.
CES 2022 runs through the end of Friday.