Expectations for International CES 2015

Connected Devices Lead the Charge; the Connected Home, the Internet of Things, Connected Automobiles and 3D Printing Also Feature Prominently

Analyst firm CCS Insight expects the forthcoming International CES show in Las Vegas to highlight technology from several areas.

The most prominent will be connected devices, especially wearables, the connected home, connected cars and 3D printing. The company also predicts augmented and virtual reality will be notable themes, and drones will emerge as this year’s hottest gadget.

Phones and tablets underwhelm as CES delivers wearables overload

Key Statistics

  • In 2015, 1.48 billion smartphones and 291 million tablets will be sold
  • Annual sales of wearable devices will hit 135 million units by 2018
  • Most wearables will be wrist-based: over 40 million smartwatches and fitness bands will be sold in 2015

With smartphones and tablets now centred on seemingly identical touch-screen slab designs, CCS Insight expects few ground-breaking developments in this area. Once again Android will be the dominant operating system for new devices as the ascendency of Chinese manufacturers continues apace, producing an avalanche of MediaTek-powered Android smartphones and tablets. Thinner devices with larger screens will provide the only glimmer of innovation. Despite the apparently gloomy environment, market leader Samsung will come out fighting, using its keynote presentation at CES to underline its determination to shake off its current woes.

Although 2014 was widely considered to be the “year of wearables”, we believe it will be eclipsed at the 2015 CES event. Ben Wood, CCS Insight’s Chief of Research, commented, “This year’s show will see wearables hype reaching stratospheric levels buoyed by the looming arrival of the Apple Watch.” But he cautioned that the mountains of sub-$20 low-cost, no-name smartwatches and fitness bands will do little to enhance this product category. “The biggest challenge manufacturers must solve is how to make wearable devices more appealing to the average consumer,” Mr Wood notes. “We need to move beyond ugly black plastic devices designed by middle-aged male engineers. Wearables should be comfortable and fashionable, and I’m expecting some high-profile partnerships between technology companies and fashion brands to come out of CES.”

Connected homes and cars take pole position in the Internet of things

Key Statistics

  • CCS Insight’s surveys show that the average UK household now has more than 10 connected devices. This is forecast to rise to 15 connected devices by 2019.
  • CCS Insight expects that in 2019 over 80 percent of new automobiles will have some form of integrated connectivity.

CCS Insight expects the connected home to be a dominant theme at CES as manufacturers, service providers and software companies all jostle to secure a leading place in this hot area. In an era of ubiquitous connectivity, there are high expectations for what this technology can offer. However a lack of common infrastructure and standards is making progress painfully slow.

Martin Garner, CCS Insight’s SVP, Internet, observes, “The whole arena continues to expand, but a grand vision remains elusive. The market’s being held back by immature products, fragmented standards and ill-defined ideas about how we should be using connected things.” He continued, “With all this uncertainty there’s an opportunity for Apple and Google to seize the moment thanks more to the strength of their brands than because of the technical superiority of their systems.”

The connected automobile is an area to watch closely at this year’s show. CCS Insight expects all leading carmakers to use CES to show off the next generation of connected vehicles. These companies need to make tough decisions about whether to sign deals with Apple and Google or pursue their own approach. Mr Garner notes, “While Android Auto and Apple CarPlay might appeal to many car buyers, we question whether an experience similar to that offered by a smartphone is best suited to a driver’s needs. And automobile makers will be reluctant to cede control of the user experience when differentiation is so critical to how they market their cars.”

3D printing gathers momentum but consumer adoption will take time 

Key Statistics

  • The total market for 3D printers in 2014 was 158,000 units. CCS Insight expects this to rise to 845,000 by 2018.
  • The 3D printer market is currently worth $1.6 billion per year. This will rise to nearly $5 billion in 2018, most of which will be industrial machines.

Last year’s CES saw a small but noticeable presence by 3D printer manufacturers. This year we expect the size and scale of this segment to grow dramatically. Although industrial 3D printers are set for stable growth, CCS Insight’s research finds that the market for consumer 3D printer market is still in its infancy and faces a more uncertain future.

Arnaud Gagneux, VP, Technology Transformation at CCS Insight, remarked, “We are concerned the consumer 3D printing bubble is going to burst before the market even gets started. As we head to CES the hype is palpable but we fear it’s built on overoptimistic forecasts of sales that won’t materialise. There are still big unanswered questions about copyright and intellectual property rights in 3D printing.”

About CCS Insight

CCS Insight is a global technology analyst company focusing on the mobile, Internet and media industries. It provides comprehensive services that are tailored to meet the needs of individual clients, helping them make sense of the connected world.

A team of CCS Insight analysts is attending International CES 2015 and will be available for comment on announcements made in the areas highlighted above.

For further information contact:

Hugo Deacon
+44 (020) 7861 2842

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