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CES 2016 trends report

Written by Meshell Long on January 13, 2016 in Ecommerce News

IMG_2831.jpgCES ended just a few days ago, but the world is still abuzz with conversation about the latest and greatest gadgets revealed at the show.

Meshell Long, Doba Director of Marketplace Success, was at the show and provided the following report, videos, and photos that give insight into some 2016 trends that all retailers should be aware of as the year goes on.


Both consumer/business industry specific drones were the talk of the show. Prices ranged from a few hundred to a few thousand dollars per drone. We took some time to interview a representative from Autel Robotics and asked him to explain how business and consumers alike can research drones to ensure they get the best bang for their buck. Here is a list of his recommended features to review before buying:

  • Battery Life
  • Maximum distance the drone can fly away from the controller.
  • Materials: Are they lightweight & sturdy? Materials can impact the flying time and distance.
  • GPS capability: This is especially important for drones that can fly long distances.
  • Autopilot Function: This allows the drone to hover in place should the user drop the remote or the remote batter runs out of life. This also helps the drone find it’s way back to the user if it becomes lost.
  • Orbit function: This allows the drone to orbit around the user and is useful for those who want the drone to follow the user/object without the remote.
  • Secure Flight Technology: blocks out interference and/or the ability for someone to hack the system or control the drone.
  • Camera quality
  • Obstacle avoidance technology: This feature is not yet available in most drones but should be the newest upcoming upgrade option. This feature keeps the drone from running into objects or helps avoid objects unseen to the person controlling the drone. 

If you plan on trying to sell drones in your online store, the above information can help guide you to choosing the best quality drones to sell so that your customers are as satisfied as possible.

Homes are getting smart

Everything from mobile/remote controlling of lights, heating/cooling, and locks can be accessed and controlled via a smartphone app or other hardware device. Smart appliances are evolving to include cameras, personalization settings, and digital screens to improve family communication. There was even a prototype of an appliance that folds your clothes. Check out the Seven Dreamers Laundroid and the Samsung Family Hub Refrigerator for examples of some of these products. 


A big trend with cameras in 2016 will be the introduction of cameras with 360 degree view capability, so they can be mounted and used on drones. They'll also include 4K capability, better casing, auto focus and telephoto glass to improve image quality. Some of the best cameras at CES were the Nikon D500 and the Nikon KeyMission 360.

Fitness and health gadgets are getting even more popular

You probably didn't make it through 2015 without hearing, or being involved in, an office conversation about how many steps you'd taken in that day. FitBit wearables became a huge trend, and that trend only looks to grow in 2016 based on what we saw at CES this year.

Fitness watches and wearables are becoming more accurate, with heart rate monitors and app controls that track not only your heart rate, but also your activity and diet. Perhaps the most impressive was the Life Fuels Water Bottle, demonstrated in the video below.

Phones and accessories

The bread and butter for some ecommerce store owners is selling phone cases and accessories. Selling electronics themselves is a tricky, low-profit venture, but cases and accessories are the exact opposite. It looks like 2016 will continue the trend of newer, better phone cases and accessories being made and sold.

We saw a lot of newer international companies designing various sleek phones with multiple features. Of all the brands that exhibited, we were most impressed with Huawei’s booth. Huawei Honor 5X is sold at a pretty reasonable price of $199 unlocked. It features a 5.5 inch screen, fingerprint sensor and reminded us a lot of the Apple iPhone 6 in regards to look at feel.

In regards to phone cases, there was a trending wood/natural material look for both cases and accessories alike. We were impressed with Eton’s wood and natural material accessories.

We also found out through ESI that the iPhone 7 audio input would no longer be a 3.5mm connector but rather via the lightning cord connection. The news about the iPhone 7 is huge for those of you who sell phone accessories - make sure to stay on top of this trend and be ready in Fall 2016 when Apple releases the iPhone 7.

Virtual reality gaming

Virtual reality gaming is finally here, available to the masses (who have the money to splurge on such devices) after years of conjecture about whether or not it would ever really take off.

We tested the Oculus Rift & Touch, a virtual reality headset available for consumer purchase this spring. The combined motion sensors, and gamepad-like components, similar to an Xbox controller, made it easy to use without looking at the controller. The games were high quality and the headset sound increased that sensation. Let’s just say, we left the Oculus booth with increased heart rates and excitement. We also tried the Omni by Virtuix which included the stand and headset. It was one of the VR gaming systems that actually required physical movement during your gaming experience.


TV technology just keeps on improving. 4K, UHD, and OLED are definitely the latest and greatest trends in the TV world, and every new TV from major manufacturers is sure to include some, if not all, of those features.

The product we were most impressed with was the Dolby Vision high dynamic range HDR. The model we saw was a 77-inch 77G6P, mounted on a 360-degree turn table to show off its thin 3mm body. The TV consists of one single glass sheet.

While selling electronics online is a tough game to make money at, there are other ways to benefit from these trends. Selling accessories to compliment what's trending, building apps to support these new products, and even testing the possibility of manufacturing your own lower-cost alternatives (provided you have the money to do so) are just some of the ways you can use the trends we saw at CES to guide your ecommerce strategy in 2016.

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Photos and video by Meshell Long.

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