The preliminary attendance numbers are in. The Consumer Electronics Association (CEA) reported that more than 140,000 industry professionals attended the 2011 International Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas this past January. These figures are up dramatically from two years ago when the CEA reported attendance had dropped to 113,085 in 2009. With nearly a 20 percent increase and attendance numbers back to pre-recession totals, it's clear that things are starting to look up for this important market segment. These much-improved figures make the statement that it's time once again for promotional products distributors to roll up their sleeves and get refamiliarized with the wildly popular and ever-changing electronics niche.
Kellie Claudio, director of new business development, Sweda Company LLC, City of Industry, Calif., noted, "With new innovation and innate enthusiasm in the electronics business, the future never looked brighter. As reported by the CES management, there is a renewed excitement for 2011 [and it is] truly an exciting time for new young designers to launch their inventive [products] into the market."
What do these new products look like? Sandra Coburn, marketing supervisor, Ariel Premium Supply Inc., Saint Louis, Mo., explained design is leaning heavily into the portable realm. "Portable products are the new standard. Consumers want to be able to have everything on the go. The current trend is really due to the popularity of the smartphone as an all-inclusive portable device that allows the consumer to perform most of the same functions they would previously have needed a computer for."
What does this mean? The imprintable products available to your end-buyers aren't just limited the ubiquitous memory sticks or family-friendly digital frames of a few years ago. Now more portability-oriented media devices like e-readers, MP3 speakers and earbuds are serious and practical options. Keep in mind that you should not only be looking to sell the portable media devices themselves, but also remember the whole host of accessories that can complete the electronics package for your client, like neoprene media tablet cases, smartphone skins, portable chargers, microfiber cloth screen cleaners and anything else that protects or enhances the electronic device's usability or portability. Coburn provided a quick rundown of product features and accessories end-users find most valuable and give the most visibility to a brand: