CES trends to watch: Bringing technology home to smart appliances

Next month, the who’s who of the consumer electronics world will descend on Las Vegas to see what will make its way into retail stores for the next year. At a time when retailers swarm to trade shows to see what products they can source themselves, trends at these conferences have never been more important.

As part of our pre-show coverage, Appliance Retailer will down the major trends that will be making waves at the January event. So what can Australian retailers expect of the 2014 International CES?

Smart Appliances

As CE margins shrink, home appliances are increasingly being viewed as the silver bullet for retailers and suppliers. JB Hi-Fi CEO Terry Smart recently valued the Australian home appliance market at $4.6 billion, while the director of Samsung’s home appliance division said it was worth more than AV and mobile globally, and “there’s a realisation within Australia, and globally, that the potential there is tremendous”.

CES is also starting to broaden its purview to include smart appliances; both Panasonic and LG placed appliances on the stage during their keynotes earlier this year.

As Panasonic’s MD Steve Rust puts it, CES has seen “a shift from primarily displaying home entertainment devices, to also showcasing both large and small home appliances”. It is a trend Rust expects to continue.

One of the major trends has been the introduction of Wi-Fi capability to appliances, allowing users to control programs with a downloadable app on their smartphone or tablet; Samsung has pushed into this area recently with the introduction of a Wi-Fi enabled air conditioner and Wi-Fi enabled washer/dryer.

It’s not just connectivity that’s coming into appliances — more products are starting to feature elements of consumer electronics products in their design. Think ovens with full-colour touch screens, iPad like touch navigation on displays and apps that load directly from the front of the refrigerator: consumers are seeing these kinds of developments pushing into their homes, and it’s only the tip of iceberg.

Samsung's Wi-Fi enabled Washer Dryer allows users to control their wash cycle remotely.

Samsung’s Wi-Fi enabled Washer Dryer allows users to control their wash cycle remotely.

Appliance Retailer will be heading to the 2014 International CES to provide up-to-the-minute coverage live from the show. Tune in from Tuesday 7 January 2014 to see all the news as it happens.

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