Trendspotting: Tech Trends to Watch from CES

CES 2024January 12, 2024 | As The Toy Association™ prepares to unveil its 2024 trends in a live press briefing on February 8, it continues to closely monitor what’s happening in parallel industries, such as tech, and gauge how those trends might impact the toy space.

This week, the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) unfolded in Las Vegas, showcasing an array of cutting-edge innovations that reflect technology’s evolving impact on our daily lives. The Toy Association’s trends team looks at some of the trends spotted at the show and how they may align with toys, play, and kids’ entertainment:

AI Everywhere
Not surprisingly, one prominent theme at CES was the omnipresence of artificial intelligence (AI). From ChatGPT-enabled cars to multiple personal assistant robots for humans and dogs alike, companies are testing how AI can be used to enhance our everyday experiences and push the boundaries of innovation.

As AI becomes more prevalent across all consumer goods, safety is of paramount importance, especially when applied to products and toys designed for children. The Toy Association continues to advise companies on how to incorporate this technology in a meaningful way that is fun, enriching, safe, and protective of children’s privacy. Click here to read The Toy Association’s top tips to keep kids safe in digital spaces.

Examples of the evolution of gaming could be found across the show floor, highlighting the investment companies are making to improve and elevate the overall gaming experience. Examples include HP’s new line of gaming gear for kids and Razer’s new haptics gaming chair cushion that creates sensations that further immerse gamers in digital worlds as they play. These items emphasize the growth of the gaming market, where kids are spending their time, and how boundaries between the physical and digital worlds are continuing to blur and perhaps even become more natural.

Accessibility Abound
From a glove that uses gyroscopic technology to counteract hand tremors for those with Parkinson’s to fitness-tracking smartwatches designed for wheelchair users, to glasses that help with hearing loss, numerous new tech innovations underscore a commitment to making facets of daily life more accessible for people with disabilities and aging populations. Making playtime more inclusive for all is a growing trend in the toy space – one example is Educational Insight’s age-inclusive line of brain games, also shown at CES, with many companies coming out with accessible toys for kids and adults alike.

Sustainable is the Standard
Innovations in green technology were evident across various categories at CES, indicating our growing awareness of environmental concerns and a shared responsibility to address them, from limiting carbon emissions to reducing plastic waste. Products on display like the Reencle Gravity countertop composter and EcoFlow Technology’s DELTA Pro Ultra battery (a backup battery to power an entire house) showed how families can make daily life easier and more sustainable, while bigger corporations like Hyundai and John Deere used the show to discuss how sustainability is a core component of their business models. The takeaway is that sustainability has become something consumers have come to expect from the products they bring into their lives, including toys.

Nostalgia Lives On
Amidst the push toward the future, there was also a notable return to nostalgic-driven products. Inspired by vintage designs and functionalities, products like this iPhone-attachable keyboard or LG’s retro-meets-futuristic DukeBox speaker reflect a desire for the familiar and a fusion of classic aesthetics with modern technology. Anticipate more retro-inspired products to hit the toy space in 2024, punctuated by evergreen brands with cross-generational appeal and toys that merge analog with 21st century learning (like this STEM toy spotted at CES).

To discover the biggest trends in toys & play for this year, mark your calendar for The Toy Association’s 2024 Toy Trends Briefing on February 8. The always-anticipated event will give buyers, media, and other toy professionals an exclusive first look at the year’s most exciting trends in toys and games. Registration is now open and free to all.

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