Concept testing at CES 2022: Assessing the potential of new products among Singaporeans

Since its inception in 1967, the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) has been the premier global event for technology-led brands to showcase their latest products and services. The event is where people go to get a sneak peek at the future of consumer technology – the first home VCR by Philips, the Nintendo Entertainment System (NES), the Microsoft Xbox, and even the DVD player all made their public debuts at CES.

However, the increased scale of CES (from 200 exhibitors in 1967 to 4,400 in 2020) and the prevalence of social media have resulted in increased hype and coverage by technology reviewers and industry experts. While these voices are critical, the voice of the average consumer is far more important, as some high-profile failures, such as the 3D television and the Palm Pre have shown. These products, while lauded by industry experts, were not accepted by the wider market.

To give this consumer perspective, 2CV tested 20 products that were introduced at CES 2022, using our Meaningful Disruptive Credible (MDC) concept-testing framework.

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The MDC framework was developed by reviewing 2CV’s extensive back catalogue of concept tests, as well as successful and unsuccessful real-world product launches. The framework determines if consumers consider a new product to be sufficiently meaningful, disruptive, and credible for a successful launch. For this exercise, we surveyed a nationally representative sample of 1,016 Singaporean consumers during the week after the CES event.

Of the products tested, three stood out as resonating strongly among Singaporeans:

  1. SAMSUNG ECO REMOTE

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This was the most popular product tested – it provides a battery-free experience by using solar energy and harvesting radio waves to power the device.

High purchase intent due to it being seen as:

  • Meaningful: It’s not hard for consumers to understand the benefits of switching from a battery-powered remote control to free power sources – no more dead batteries!
  • Disruptive: Although not reinventing the remote control, the use of alternative power sources in this common device was seen as highly innovative
  • Credible: As a leader in home electronics, Samsung is seen as a credible brand to deliver this product
  1. SONY BRAVIA CAM

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Another immensely popular product among Singaporeans was the Sony BRAVIA CAM, which is a camera that connects to your TV and allows you to control it with hand gestures. It also monitors where you sit and alerts you if you’re too close and adjusts its brightness and audio based on your position.

High purchase intent due to it being seen as:

  • Meaningful: Singaporeans responded positively to several of the product’s features – for example, the alert feature (when too close to the TV) was the most popular feature across all tested products
  • Disruptive: While similar products have previously been introduced, consumers found the combination of safety and tech features new and exciting
  • Credible: While there are some concerns about data security, assurances provided by a strong brand like Sony seemed to allay many of these fears

 

  1. INVOXIA SMART DOG COLLAR

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Like fitness bands for humans, the Invoxia Smart Dog Collar monitors your pet’s vital signs – it uses a series of radar sensors and innovative embedded artificial intelligence signals to monitor your dog’s heart and respiratory rate, regardless of how furry your pet is. It also doubles up as a GPS and activity tracker to monitor their location and fitness levels at all times.

High purchase intent due to it being seen as:

  • Meaningful: Providing peace of mind when it comes to man’s best friend, pet owners could easily see the appeal
  • Disruptive: While not a purely new technology, the application to monitoring pet health drives perceptions of newness
  • Credible: With familiar technology already used in smartwatches and fitness trackers, Singaporeans feel that this is a credible stretch for this technology

While analysing the results across 20 products for this exercise, a few common elements stood out among the more compelling products:

  1. Products that resonated strongly were meaningfully disruptive concepts, that spoke from a position of credibility

Having a unique selling point is not enough for consumers; before buying, consumers want to make sure that the product can deliver on the promises made and can make a meaningful impact on their lives. Intent to purchase drops when one of these three factors is not perceived in a product.

Below are examples of two products that did not resonate strongly with Singaporeans, as they lacked in some key criteria:

  • EVE MOTIONBLINDS: Eve has created motion blinds that work with a smart home to allow you to easily lower and raise your blinds. The problem is that this is not differentiated enough, as multiple brands are now making their home products smart. While consumers saw the product as relevant, they didn’t rate it as disruptive enough to create high purchase intent.
  • BEV BY BLACK+DECKER: Bev the robot bartender fails to excite. While pod-based drinks have credibility through coffee variations, and Black+Decker is a well-known brand, consumers didn’t see its purpose in their own lives, as they didn’t see sufficient benefit from the machine mixing a cocktail vs doing it themselves.
  1. There is a sweet spot for concepts, which balances newness with consumer understanding

When this balance is achieved, consumers can connect their current experiences with the disruptive opportunity of the product, and as such, they are more likely to buy. The new Eco Remote by Samsung is the perfect example, where consumers can connect with the product because of their general understanding of remote controls, while appreciating the new eco-friendly features.

These results reinforce the need for any company developing innovations to consider whether it ticks off the three key criteria for success: its meaningfulness to the target audience, its credibility to offer the innovation, and the extent to which the innovation is disruptive enough to create interest among consumers.

 

This article was first published in the Q1 2022 edition of Asia Research Media