CES trends to watch: The Rise and Rise of Fashtronics

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.

Over the years, the International CES has been the launch pad for the VCR, camcorder, CD player and OLED TV, along with countless other innovations that transformed the global CE marketplace. 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?

Fashtronics

When Dick Smith owner Anchorage Capital Partners announced the opening of its new Move concept store in September, using the moniker ‘Fashtronics’ to refer to its product range, the retailer proved it had its finger on the curiously named pulse.

One month later, the retailer opened the doors on its new store, packed full with products targeted at the demographic that marketers dream of — young, trend-obsessed consumers with plenty of disposable income.

Move stores have been a key component of Anchorage's plans for Dick Smith.

Move stores have been a key component of Anchorage’s plans for Dick Smith.

Demand from younger consumers for fashionable consumer electronics has increased this year — smartphone cases worth more than the devices themselves, high concept designer speakers and headphones endorsed by your choice of athlete and/or pop star — these products are targeted at consumers with money to spend, and they offer retailers a high margin, making them an obvious choice for stocking in stores.

Ferrari Logic 3 T250 headphones

Ferrari by Logic 3 T250 headphones feature the premium car manufacturer’s famous logo.

This trend is particularly prevalent in the audio category where low-cost products can be quickly manufactured and paired with the right logo, name or brand to boost appeal. That’s not to say that all the products are cheap and cheerful — plenty of high-end brands are getting in on the act, including French brand Parrot, which partnered with acclaimed designer Phillippe Starck to produce its line-up of Zikmu speakers and audio accessories.

The Parrot Zikmu Solo speaker.

The Parrot Zikmu Solo speaker.

Regardless of the label, the appeal of fashionable electronics comes down to the old marketing principle of the ‘Halo Effect’. The consumer wants a pair of headphones, they like the music of Lady Gaga, so the Lady Gaga Heartbeats headphones from Beats seem an obvious choice. Just as the greasers of 1950s pop culture defined themselves by their hot rod cars, today’s young consumers define themselves by their accessories.

Youth appeal: Logitech's UE Boom portable speaker.

Youth appeal: Logitech’s UE Boom portable speaker.

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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