3 trends to know from CES 2021

How did e-commerce advance ten years in nine months?! What makes a healthy building? And why is the “Homebody Economy” big for brands? We attended CES 2021 (virtually!) to bring you top trends impacting technology and culture.


The Commerce Conundrum

As we look back at 2020, it’s clear that one trend really took hold: consumers have accepted e-commerce and digital shopping as part of their new normal. The amount of acceleration we saw in just nine months of 2020 would have normally taken ten years, and it’s been a challenging time for brands and retailers to keep up.

Four Key Takeaways:

  1. Take Advantage of New Advertising Formats and Technology. NBC Universal brought commerce and content together with shoppable TV. It combines the scale of TV with the immediacy of mobile commerce, allowing brands to pivot to e-commerce and drive transactions in this new space.
  2. Leverage Personalization at Scale. By 2025, analysts expect 40% of CPG sales to occur online, and five global online marketplaces will dominate two-thirds of those online sales. Retail 5.0 will be characterized by online marketplaces mastering their enormous amount of data to provide partners and customers with personalization at scale. Brands and manufacturers need to work to fully understand their selected marketplace ecosystem, data and tools available to leverage in personalizing offers for their customers.
  3. Understand the Value of Online Communities. Online communities like Reddit hold a wealth of insight around consumer sentiment and can be a real-time resource for brands to react and adjust creative as shifts in sentiment unfold. Communities also offer consumers new paths to research and purchase products, and those that turn to communities for advice consider a 2x wider selection, make decisions 9x faster and are willing to pay 15% more because they are more confident in their purchases.
  4. Rewarding Customers Drives Conversion. Loyalty rewards and offers are more important than ever. Customers are 3x more likely to convert when shown an offer, and those that redeem the offer are 83% more likely to return to that store in the next seven days. Seventy-nine percent of consumers are looking for more savings and deals due to the pandemic and these rewards and offers help them decide to make purchases they may not have made otherwise. Sixty-seven percent feel less guilty indulging when the item is a good deal.

Healthy Buildings, Healthy Lives

Healthy buildings are on everyone’s minds these days. It is estimated that we spend more than 87% of time indoors—and likely more since the pandemic. However, the concept is not new. For years, a push in the architectural community toward healthy buildings where air and water quality, occupant comfort and lighting and views to the outside are optimized.

The panelists in this CES session brought different perspectives to the table but rallied around a common theme that to achieve healthier buildings we need to first implement the infrastructure (sensors, for example) to collect data, analyze the data and then take actions. Costs for these sensors are coming down, making it possible for more widespread use.

And while data is important, all the panelists agreed that nothing is more important than putting the human element above all else.

For our clients in the technology and building and construction industries, this is a trend that should be monitored as opportunities exist to help make our indoor environments better, healthier and more comfortable through our products and services.

2021 Rulebook: Making Transformation a Reality

For decades, the marketing industry has fought to keep up with the rate of disruption from technological advancement. But in 2020, consumer behavior changed overnight, and tech got better faster, presenting leaders with challenges they expected years from now.

Three Key Takeaways:

  • Moving forward, it is critical for brands to speak with purpose in a very authentic way. Brands can move people and consumers are more inclined to listen to what is being said coming off a year of uncertainty and change. They want to transact with brands that are genuine and have a social conscience.
  • We are in a “Homebody Economy” where everything is touchless and consumers feel most safe in the comforts of home. Everything from telehealth appointments, virtual gyms, online grocery shopping and food delivery has become a part of day-to-day life as people have adapted quickly. Social listening and understanding what makes consumers motivated and inspired should be more front and center to any marketing strategy.
  • The role of CMO and/or a marketing agency is quickly evolving. Marketing roles now have a broader sense of accountability as innovation and technology have become an even more significant part of reaching consumers. It is imperative that marketing, digital and I.T. teams collaborate and streamline to develop strategic and meaningful recommendations that will reach audiences where they are today and in the future.