If you want to start or grow a business today, consumer electronics is where it's at. In recent years, consumer electronics have been the hottest-selling holiday gifts, in addition to their popularity all year long. In fact, children as young as 2 years old are increasingly clamoring for electronic devices instead of toys as birthday and holiday gifts. We recently talked about the popularity of smartphones, and China's position as a global leader in manufacturing them But what are some other hot consumer electronics you can profit from - both now, and in the future?
Here's a look at what was popular at the last Consumer Electronics Show (CES), as well as some predictions for the next decade.
TV: At the 2015 CES, 4K ultra-high definition television sets were all the rage. But now, 4K is old hat, and at CES 2016 the new trend is HDR - "high dynamic range." HDR offers a better picture thanks to its greater dynamic range, which makes for more realistic and brighter colors. While only a few TV content producers are creating HDR content right now, it will eventually become common (much like high-definition TV did), and if consumers want to view this content at its best, they'll need HDR TVs. Also continuing in popularity are curved TVs and smart TV technology, but HDR is the innovation that is most likely to appeal to consumers.
Virtual reality devices: Virtual reality gaming has been talked about since the 1980s, but now it's finally here. The famed Oculus Rift will be on sale in 2016, as will its closest competitor, Sony's PlayStation VR (virtual reality) headset. Oculus displayed a consumer version prototype in June 2015. According to early reviews, both have their advantages and disadvantages (and both require a lot of hardware power), but it's a sure bet that dedicated gamers will line up to try these high-tech tools.
In the coming decade, virtual reality is likely to expand far beyond video gaming. There's potential for so many things, including attending concerts in virtual reality, students taking field trips to foreign countries in virtual reality, or watching news reports or movies in virtual reality. Retailers may use virtual reality to sell their products, and health care providers could use virtual reality to assist patients in their homes.
3D printers: 3-D printers create actual, physical objects - not just flat sheets of paper. They can create everything from clothing to food. Until recently, most of them have been used in industries such as aerospace, engineering and automotive manufacturing, and the cost of actually printing an object was quite high. However, a big trend at last year's CES was the growth in compact 3-D printers that are becoming affordable for smaller businesses and even consumers. While they aren't yet in the mainstream, in the coming decade, companies may use 3-D printers to create prototypes, and individuals may use them for crafts.
Wearable technology: Fitness trackers have become commonplace, but wearable technology goes far beyond these little wristbands. At CES 2015, exhibitors displayed everything from smart fitness garments for runners to fitness trackers for dogs. Wearable cameras that automatically take photos, voice activated smart watches and products that remind the wearer to take their medication were also on display. All of these wearables use a combination of sensors, cloud technology and Bluetooth to provide immediate feedback to the wearers. Of course, there's plenty of potential for accessories for the wearables - such as fitness trackers and smart watches that are more fashion-forward than those currently available.
Although all of the products mentioned above are defined as "consumer electronics," they also have far wider applications than just sale to individuals. For example, virtual reality is likely to change the face of industries such as education, health care and travel, in the same way that Skype and other web conferencing tools have changed the way we communicate with each other.
No matter what technology the future brings, China's expertise in consumer electronics manufacturing makes it an ideal source to turn to for the latest consumer electronics. And the Trade Assurance program from Alibaba.com can make it easier to trade with confidence using safe payment solutions to work with Chinese suppliers.