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Published March 29th 2021

The Big Consumer Technology Trends for 2021

Technology was the star of the show in 2020. What trends can we expect to see in the consumer tech industry during 2021? Let’s explore.

Technology took center stage during the pandemic. We relied on it for our connection to others, our link to something beyond our isolation bubbles, our work, our fitness, and our entertainment. 

Whether you were using Zoom to video chat your friends or sitting on your couch monitoring your heart rate after a good workout, our gadgets have been loyal companions during lockdown.

What’s on the docket for 2021 and beyond? We’ve outlined a few key trends.

Trend #1: Dispersed employees create demand for better conferencing tech

Remote work is here to stay. The pandemic opened everyone's eyes to just how much we can still get done without a physical office. This mobility enables employees to work from anywhere, anytime. For employers, hiring top talent is no longer limited to geographical constraints. 

The only way this kind of setup can work is with bulletproof conferencing technology. When you can communicate consistently and easily, distance doesn’t matter.

As we move into 2021, the workforce will continue to relocate across the country and out of large cities. Companies across the globe will need to invest heavily in tech that enables the future of remote work. 

In the business world, the technologies that will impact our lives the most in the next year and beyond will be those that empower and enable people to shift into a new work-life balance.

Trend #2: Health-based tech is in demand due to pandemic

Even as the economy and industries reeled under the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, venture funding for health technology innovators nearly doubled in 2020 compared to 2019, according to Deloitte. 

Consumers want to take hold of their own day-to-day health, and technology empowers them to do just that. Connected health monitoring devices help track a number of vital signs such as: 

  • Heart rate 
  • Blood pressure
  • Body temperature 
  • Hydration 

The pandemic has put a new focus on monitoring health beyond just fitness activities, and the FDA has even given formal approval to certain monitors. Deloitte found that innovators focused on well-being and care delivery models received a record US$6.4 billion in funding in 2020. 

The pandemic accelerated funding for innovators with alternative forms of care delivery, such as remote monitoring and virtual health. Virtual health is expected to continue post-pandemic, but industry decision makers will need to find a way to perpetuate its current momentum as in-person visits resume. 

Trend #3: Games consoles spark joy in pandemic life

There’s only so much TV a person can watch in a day, and boredom was the name of the game in 2020. Naturally, people gravitated towards old gaming favorites and companies responded with smart tweaks to old devices and even some new releases.

In our most recent Customer Experience Report , we explored 15 sectors and how they performed in 2020 in terms of how consumers talked about them. Each had their share of positive buzz, but within conversations around consumer tech we found a huge source of joy. Gaming devices like the Nintendo Switch console were the most obvious source. The console has been in huge demand since the beginning of the pandemic.

We expect to see a continued focus on great gaming experiences in 2021 and we predict more old-school reminiscent revivals. 

Trend #4: Tech malfunctions provide insights into customer experience

In that same 2021 CX Report, we found that there was one main source of anger in the consumer technology industry: malfunctioning tech.

Smashed smartphone screens, crashing games, and defective smart watches made up a lot of negative conversation around tech brands, but there were plenty of topics to pick from aside from those.

There are lessons tech brands can learn from examining these kinds of online conversations in relation to their own products. What do customers want to see fixed? What issues seem to frustrate your audience most? In 2021 the companies that manage to make their customers feel heard while also making marked improvements will have the advantage. 

Trend #5: Home-centric products are in high demand

We never knew just how important the perfect home setup would be before 2020 hit, and we predict that smart tech companies will continue to focus on innovative home tech in 2021. These at-home tech innovations range from kitchen gadgets that make your life easier to at-home health solutions.

At the most recent Consumer Electronics Show, a handful of companies showed off new home products equipped with artificial intelligence technology, including automated sanitization and cleaning robots. Virtual reality integration also was a trend, whether for simulating school and work environments or bringing concerts into your home. 

Virtual assistants have been in the spotlight thanks to our extended time at home in 2020. Alexa may even have a top spot in our close friends circle at this point. Consumers craved these smart devices throughout the pandemic, and the trend doesn’t seem to be slowing down anytime soon. In fact, searches for ‘virtual assistant’ hit a five-year high recently according to Google Trends.

In 2021 we can expect to see more home innovations like this on the market. Demand will continue to increase as consumers adapt to a post-Covid world and look for ways to make life easier.

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