CES 2019: The Consumer Product Disconnect

One of the ironies of CES, which used to stand for the Consumer Electronics Show, is that most of the gadgetry being displayed is for consumers, but consumers don’t attend the actual event.

The attendees are mainly the businesses and entities that would ultimately be distributing or selling to consumers the things they deem appropriate.

However, that doesn’t stop many of the presenting companies from pitching their products as items that would go directly to consumers.

For example, FoldiMate has a device that folds clothes, a process the company highlights in a video. I saw a concept version of this at CES last year; this year the company demonstrated something closer to a production version.

I watched a person put clothes into the top of the machine and saw it come out folded at the bottom. The machine appeared too small to have a human inside doing the actual folding, and the demonstrator assured me it was just automation.



The likelihood of many consumers plunking down the estimated $1,000 price when the robotic folder’s shipping date late in 2019 comes around is questionable. However, for a business that continually folds, such as a laundry facility or a clothes retailer, the machine could make some sense.

Another device that consumers may see and use but not purchase is a small wearable device from Lynq, which promotes its product to “locate anyone or anything for miles without phones, networks or any infrastructure.”

Karina Cost, president of the New York startup, told me the idea is for groups of people to be able to track friends. Rather than individuals purchasing a pair of the rechargeable devices for a few hundred dollars, a ski resort or concert event promoter might purchase large quantities of the devices and rent them to consumers.

The tracking product could be highly functional based on specific timeframes with specific people, such as a group ski outing.

There were countless products sporting some nifty technological innovation at CES. However, in many cases, the success of the product could have less to do with the technology than the actual market positioning of the product.

While new products may be very useful to consumers, the determining success factor may be exactly how the makers of those products get them into consumers’ hands.

Next story loading loading..