With the buzz surrounding the new technology at CES 2012, we look how consumer technology will affect e-commerce in the coming year.
This week saw the CES 2012 (Consumer Electronics Show) take place in Las Vegas. Allowing technology companies to show off their latest products, hoping to attract the attention of the media, and in turn, consumers.
A lot of the technology that consumers will be buying in 2012 will have an impact on e-commerce, as the trend in all areas of consumer technology is increased connectivity to the internet.
Below we take a look at the trends from the show, and predict how this will affect e-commerce in 20102.
2011 saw the tablet computer popularised by the iPad, and ended with a significant number of shoppers using their tablets to purchase online. 2012 should see this trend continue, with the release of numerous alternative tablets, powered by the Android operating system. With a range of tablets being produced, including ones for the kitchen. This will give consumers a great deal of choice, including entry level price ranges, allowing for a real explosion in tablet PC usage. The US has already seen a significant take up of Amazon's Kindle, and this success is set to be repeated in the UK this year.
What this means for e-commerce, is that more consumers are likely to be browsing on tablet devices. The devices will vary in capability and screen size, but all have one thing in common, they are operated by touch. Any site functionality relying on mouse specific gestures, such as hovering, will cause tablet users to abandon your site. With the big screen sizes afforded by tablets, consumers will expect the exact same, if not a better, experience from their tablet devices as they get from their desktop or laptop. E-commerce sites will need to ensure their sites function well on any tablet device, and adapt their sites if necessary.
TVs have been getting bigger and thinner for some time now, and that trend will continue. But this year they are getting 'smart'. What this means in basic terms is that they are becoming connected to the internet, with companies such as Google launching Google TV, based on their Android operating system.
What this means for consumers and e-commerce, is that yet another device in the home can be used to browse the web, and run apps, in a similar way to their smart phones and tablets. The potential for savvy e-commerce companies targeting consumers through Smart TVs is clear, and expect consumers to be browsing and buying from their TVs to become common place.
Whilst being around for many years, smart phones became much more prevalent in 2012, with over half the population of the UK now using a smart phone device. 2012 will continue the trend of increased Smartphone usage, with various manufactures providing a variety of Android powered smart phones, to meet the different needs of consumers.
Like TVs, the trend seems to be for larger screens and thinner devices. What this means for e-commerce, is that even more consumers are likely to become Smartphone users in 2012, but you can't guarantee the capabilities of the device, be it Android, iOS, Blackberry or Windows Phone. With screens getting larger, mobile sites will need to cater for all sorts of screen sizes and resolutions, and consumers will expect sites to cater for whatever device they are using.
CES 2012 saw 1000s of attendees hoping to see the 'next big thing' in tech
What about Apple?
Whilst Apple chooses not to attend shows such as CES, 2012 is sure to bring new hardware from them in the shape of new iPhones an iPads. The rumour is that later in the year 2 new iPads will be revealed, and it is likely a revision to the iPhone, possibly the iPhone 5, will be launched. Whether these devices will have quite the same impact as the original iPad had is unclear, but it is clear that with more consumer choice and mature hardware, the trend for smart phones and tablets will continue no matter what.