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What CES 2016 Says About Changing Consumer Behavior

The Consumer Electronics Show (CES) is one of the largest and most anticipated events of the year, with brands unveiling new technology and gadgets that will change the way consumers work, play, and live. This year’s event was no exception, in fact, over 170,000 attendees flocked to Vegas last week to be part of the festivities. Wired did a great wrap-up of some of the top technology, and while I certainly enjoyed the unveiling of new gadgets at the event, I wanted to also learn what those gadgets could indicate about the consumer trends we should expect in 2016 and beyond. After digesting the madness, here are three distinct takeaways for brands and consumers from this year’s CES:

Every major brand seems to be showcasing lifestyle-based experiences.

From emerging wearable health-tracking devices like Fitbit and L’Oreal My UV Patch (which tracks sun exposure and tells a user when he or she has had enough), to the Ily wearable translator that allows users to translate from one language to another during face-to-face interactions, everything about this year was geared toward improving a consumer’s lifestyle. Which makes sense, as Millennials especially crave experiences over material possessions, perhaps the best way to engage them is through developing products that make those experiences more impactful.

GoPro has disrupted the marketing sphere and created an entirely new genre of content creation.

This follows closely with the first trend I mentioned, as experiential marketing continues to dramatically increase. GoPro was first to market, and interestingly the content that users are creating with the brand’s products sits in a whole new category of experiential content. Panasonic had an enormous showcase at CES, co-branded with Reebok and Spartan introducing products such as the A500, a 4K mountable sports camera in the same category.

Automobile manufacturers are betting big on connected cars and new technologies.

Certainly, the biggest auto news at CES surrounded the concept of autonomous-vehicles, but automakers also are investing heavily in connected cars and personalized driving experiences. Automotive manufacturer Delphi even trademarked the phrase “V2E” for “vehicle to everything,” communication, which includes “vehicle-to-vehicle and vehicle-to-infrastructure communication as well as connecting vehicles to pedestrians via smartphones to prevent collisions and syncing drivers to family and friends to notify them of their location.”

The Instagram Square has nearly killed the 5×7.

As I walked through the event, something that struck me was how the images at each branded display were set up in formatting consistent with Instagram’s “Square.” Effectively, the Instagram sizing has become the standard for imagery, which speaks to how the platform has changed the way consumers experience the world around them.

As we hit the ground running in 2016, it’s clear to me that brands are going to have to create authentic, meaningful experiences to engage their consumers and cut through the noise. Consumer electronic developers are buying into the idea of experiential marketing, how are you preparing your brand to capitalize on these new trends?

Featured Photo by Moyan Brenn. Follow him on Facebook and Twitter.