Michael Stich, Partner at CourtAvenue
Mark Newcomer, Chief Strategy Officer at CourtAvenue

CES 2024 Rewind:
Unveiling The Convergence of Tech, Food, and Retail

For those recently immersed in the excitement of CES 2024, the tech optimism is contagious and should have staying power. The event showcased a dynamic mix of present-day innovations and futuristic concepts such as eye-catching flying cars and automated construction equipment. 

Closer to today is new home technologies that seem right around the corner, including transparent TV screens that can serve as entertainment, art, and home information panels all-in-one. Also right around the corner are home assistants, in the form of robots, that will help bring automated home technology together.  

Most importantly is the visibility into new technologies that will drive new behaviors, all converging around how we live, shop, and consume entertainment, with EV’s continuing to push their way into the technology mix.

Let’s take a look at the emerging frontiers of CES 2024 

AI and Conversational Interfaces in the Spotlight

CES 2024 marked a big leap forward with AI and conversational interfaces taking center stage. The commitment to intuitive, user-friendly tech is becoming a driving force, potentially erasing the learning curve associated with new technologies, while making what we use today even more intuitive.

Key Insight: It’s time to move consumer facing AI initiatives out of experimentation mode and into production. The next few years will be the battle for AI and conversational interface competency and leadership.

Next-Gen Smart Homes Continue to Impress

Powerhouse brands such as LG, Panasonic, Samsung, Sony, and Bosch showcased smart home technologies, redefining our living spaces. From intelligent fridges managing inventory to cooking appliances automating culinary processes, CES offered a sneak peek into a future where smart devices seamlessly transform homes. TV’s took an evolutionary leap forward with new AI processing power, built in shopping capabilities, and impressive picture quality through Micro LEDs.

Key Insight: Next gen appliances and TVs not only enhance efficiency, but open new avenues for consumer engagement. Each device strives to create app-driven interfaces that go beyond mere management, offering features like recipe suggestions and automated grocery lists. For brands looking to win in the home, now is the time to look at how to get closer to electronics manufacturers and the vision they are looking to bring it to life.

Home Assistant Revolution Getting Closer to Reality

CES 2024 showcased an array of devices for home upkeep, prompting questions about integration across diverse manufacturers. LG stepped up with its AI smart home agent, a compact robot envisioning a zero-labor home. While still evolving, this concept provides a glimpse into a physical AI-based home assistant.

Furthermore, CES 2024 rolled out home technology that automates pool cleaning, vacuuming, energy management, and lawn upkeep. Home assistants will help manage new automated home equipment in addition to smart home appliances and entertainment tech

Key Insight: A genuine AI home assistant could revolutionize how households handle everything, creating an ecosystem filled with helpful content and automated experiences. Consider how to be involved with those looking to be the ultimate point of convergence in the home. This is where behavioral insights will pool together and consumers will be most open to recommendations on shopping, eating, and taking in entertainment.

EVs Looking to Hold Court

The evolution of CES into a major car show continued, featuring brands like Kia with first-of-its-kind modular fleet vehicles for various applications from delivery to ride sharing. Collaborations between Honda and Sony showcased the fusion of automotive and consumer electronics thinking and partnerships between Amazon and BMW showed what an AI assistant in the car can look like. Furthermore, brands like Samsung and Hyundai, emphasized services merging the car and home. 

Key Insight: While CES highlights many different kinds of technology, the convergence of auto and home tech is one of the most interesting. With the car playing such a central role in how consumers shop and live, both brands and retailers should be looking to create unique partnerships with OEMs, while there is still a first mover advantage.

New Tech Demands Green Energy

The show emphasized the need for energy solutions, especially with new tech consuming more power and operating continuously. Exhibitors showcased personal solar solutions, solar generators, and energy management solutions, underlining the importance of sustainable energy practices. Major manufacturers emphasized sustainable supply chains and manufacturing, recognizing the holistic nature of sustainability. Additionally, Walmart highlighted how it will begin to offer clean energy directly to consumers in the years ahead.

Key Insights: Especially important to GenZ is how companies are protecting the planet they will inherit. Look to partner with the tech brands that have a clear vision of sustainability and recognize how to help consumers make better sustainability choices.

Bringing it Together at the Intersection of Food and Retail

While all of the above highlights new or evolving technology, an additional set of insights can be applied to the CPG food category and the retail environments that bring them together. 

Pay Attention to the New Data Flows of the More Connected Customer:

The race for data flows from connected consumers is just getting underway. All of these new  devices contribute to authenticated consumer insights. Conversational interfaces and generative AI technologies will add a new layer of insight, giving brands unprecedented access to consumer behavior and intent. 

Look for brands, retail media networks, traditional media all clamoring to get access to new first-party data sets through partnerships and collaborations. 

Be on the Frontlines of Automated Shopping:

With interconnected devices and the contextual intelligence they bring, shopping is evolving towards automation. Brands and retailers stand to benefit by adapting to this shift, recognizing that shopping carts will begin to show up in new places and many more of them. 

From digital health solutions suggesting what our bodies need to automated replenishment suggesting when to refill, shopping will make a steady march towards more automation. 

Be on the Lookout for Fulfillment Immediacy: 

For the last several years at CES, drone and robot delivery look to bring ease and immediacy to the last mile of delivery. However companies like Amazon and Walmart are ramping up their efforts for automated and immediate delivery. 

Look for new delivery services to come online in 2024, potentially disrupting some of the category captains like Instacart. Furthermore, expect these to come from the major retailers, giving them more of an opportunity to own the home fulfillment function of shopping.