CES 2018: Why should you care?


CES 2018: Why should you care?

Stuart Aitken

Now in its 51st year, CES is the world’s largest consumer technology conference. Stuart Aitken, Head of Brand & Content at Digitas, outlines why it’s important that you know what happened in Vegas this year.

What happened in Vegas?

CES features 3,900 exhibitors stretched over 2.75 million square feet of exhibition space. This year marked the event’s 51st anniversary. To celebrate, over 180,000 people attended from over 150 countries.

CES is an opportunity for consumer electronics manufacturers and technologists to show off their products and prototypes - and for the industry’s biggest players to come together to speculate on what it all means for the future. 

Why does CES matter for marketers?

While not everything that we see annually at CES actually goes on to become a major new product, the conference is useful for spotting trends. While there may not be specific stand out products, seeing the same kind of thinking being replicated by a number of companies tells us that a technology or a way of thinking is gaining momentum.

What's more, the best prototypes and product innovations are always grounded in a human insight and / or need. CES helps marketers to identify the real challenges that technology can help to resolve. Even if the solutions on offer don't always deliver, the underlying human insight can be a useful thought starter for marketers keen to think about how their brand can steal a march on their competitors.

The conference offers a unique insight into what may be coming down the track, allowing us to think more about the canvases and environments our brands may be playing on in the future. Quite simply, it’s a chance for marketers to prepare for the future.

And so, what should marketers really care about?

We spotted a number of innovations and trends this year that we feel rose above the rest. Key amongst these were:

  • A renaissance for large TVs
  • Unattended retail gaining momentum
  • Voice control everywhere
  • The march of the front-of-house robots
  • AR for the masses
  • Payment in person
  • Product personalisation
  • Continuous health monitoring
  • Super senses powered by wearable devices
  • The wireless power revolution

We’ve expanded on some of these topics to give you some more depth on the trends that we feel you should be aware of:

We’ve also put together a downloadable PDF version of our findings, compiled by a selection of Digitas’s brightest thinkers. Click here to download.

What are the implications for the future? 

All of these innovations and trends have implications that  mrketers need to be thinking of now. Of course we saw some wacky – and quite scary stuff – at CES. But in amongst this are trends that are set to transform our businesses and industries. The possibilities are endless.

Stuart Aitken

Stuart Aitken


As Head of Brand & Content at Digitas UK, Stuart is responsible for seeking out the most compelling narratives from across Digitas‘s UK businesses, identifying marketplace trends for comment and managing the Digitas brand across internal and external channels as well as social media platforms. He is also responsible for planning and providing editorial guidance for key Digitas events such as the annual thought leadership showcase NewFront.


CES 2018: Product personalisation