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My Top Takeaways from CES 2023 - Chris White, Research Director, Parks Associates

Parks Associates team was at CES 2023 and research director, Chris White, reports back on exclusive industry insights and takeaways. 

Chris is a research director with Parks Associates, covering the smart home and smart energy markets. He was previously a Director of Insights at PeopleMetrics in Philadelphia and the Data Manager of a youth-serving collaborative in New Orleans. He leverages this background in marketing research and data gathering to contribute to the design of Parks Associates consumer surveys.

Chris earned his BBA in Marketing from the College of William & Mary and his MBA in Marketing and Finance from American University.

Name 3-5 interesting things you saw at CES and the company associated with it. 

I spotted several big security and security-adjacent players with small or no exhibits. Chatting with the folks at the modest Vivint table, for example, I heard some say they didn’t want their production schedules being tied to CES. I really like their “new” smart floodlight with camera but that was released months ago rather than waiting for CES, or perhaps rushing it out at CES 2022. It seems that they wanted to develop new products at their own pace. A few other security device manufacturers were taking a similar approach. They also cited security-specific conferences as better targets for their event budgets.

Coffee tech is coming to add-to or at least change the “millennials spend too much at Starbucks” narrative. There are smart grinders, smart brewers, and even smart mugs like the Ember. I’m glad to see coffee devices join the smart countertop appliance market along with my colleague and VP of Research, Jennifer Kent’s beloved mixer, which incorporates a food scale right into the mixer and offers voice control to operate the mixer hands-free.

More device-makers are trying to make their products solar-powered. I didn’t hear from my colleagues in the entertainment group tell me and the energy group about this trend… Consumers would obviously love to avoid the waste and hassle of replacing batteries, so I’m rooting for more innovation in the direction. The most ambitious example I spotted are the Urbanista headphones that included Exeger’s Powerfoyle solar materials into their builds. Can a solar headband sufficiently charge a pair of over-ear headphones? It would be cool if they could!

• The coolest tech that I saw at CES was …
The Schneider Electric Home modular energy management solution collects many existing technologies together in an elegant yet extremely practical way. Consumers looking to upgrade their home electrical solution to include solar and EV have previously had to rely on a third party to assemble parts from various OEMs to meet their needs. Now consumers can look to one trusted manufacturer for a complete solution that is also flexible enough to reach a wide range of homes and use cases.

• At CES, I was surprised to see ...
There were so many robot vacuums with so many accessories! There are numerous low-end models for casual fans and high-end models are increasingly autonomous. Several have base stations that empty the dust bin and replace the water but two stood out: the Noesis Florio has a base that replaces its mop pad, and the Roborock models return to their RockDock base to have their mop pad scrubbed clean before returning to action.

• One thing I saw that will impact the market in 2023 is …
That Matter mark was prevalent and prominent. It’ll be very interesting to see how the new products bearing the mark of interoperability will fare in the coming year!

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