The Tech that Defined 2020

The Consumer Electronics that Came to Define Life in 2020

Competition in the electronics market is fierce, but new customers and increased conversion rates are not out of reach. To win and retain new customers and increase conversion rates, CMOs and product launch leaders must adopt new eCommerce and digital marketing strategies to cut through the noise and distinguish themselves in a crowded marketplace.

In 2020, innovative tech launches were often overshadowed by the news cycle, while other products that previously had not reached mass appeal were heavily adopted. Here are six consumer electronics that could have made an even bigger splash in 2020 with the power of a specialty web store, product launch event, or private sale.

1. Premium over-ear headphones 

Many organizations shifted their workforces to home offices last year. As living rooms and kitchens became meeting rooms and classrooms, drowning out external distractions was more crucial than ever before. Social distancing norms meant consumers traded their concerts and trips to the movie theater with Spotify playlists and Netflix binges.

The specialty sale site opportunity:

Apple’s AirPods Max command a steep price, even for a brand like Apple that can charge a premium. Coming in at $549 for a single pair of over-ear headphones, this SKU is considered a luxury item. While the AirPods Max saw strong sales, a specialty eComemerce website and pre-sale event could have improved results event more. A specialty pre-sale site full of educational and high-quality videos and rich content would have created a more immersive experience for the luxury consumer.

Image of consumer holding Apple AirPods Max over-ear headphones in Apple box. next to Apple iPhone

2. Computerized sewing machines

Last year home sewers dusted off their sewing machines and stepped up to sew masks during PPE shortages. With newfound frugality and a focus on ethical consumption, sewing machine sales spiked.

The specialty sale site opportunity:

Sewing machines are technical, advanced devices and can be an investment purchase for most consumers. To compare models effectively, consumers need informative content and precise product specs often unavailable on craft store websites. Most sewing machine manufacturers do not have a DTC distribution channel. While their websites may offer the specs consumers seek, many are veritable online catalogs with no shopping cart functionalities. Manufacturers could have capitalized on this gap by launching specialty flash sale sites for their most popular models when demand for sewing machines was at an all-time high. Rather than cede customer data and dollars to Amazon and big-box craft retailers, a specialty web store would have allowed sewing machine manufacturers to improve margin and capture information on a digital-first cohort of new sewers. 

3. Air purifiers

Before COVID-19, home air purifiers were a nice product marketed to those with specific home and health concerns. During the spring and summer of 2020, they went mainstream as consumers invested in improving their indoor air quality for added security and wellness. As public health experts shared concerns over airborne virus transmission and wildfires created smoky conditions throughout the U.S., big-box retailers like Amazon and sold out quickly.

The specialty sale site opportunity: 

  • Capture more sales with a preorder pipeline when products were not available via retailers due to sell-outs and slim supply chains.
  • Offer flash sales or time-bound promotional codes to essential workers, teachers, and healthcare heroes looking to make their workplaces safer.

Image of young boy playing at table with Air Purifier in foreground

4. Digital water purification systems

For some, the shift to WFH lifestyles left them in need of home tap water improvement. Luxury self-cleaning water bottles and pitchers from brands like Larq and in-home digital water purification systems attracted both health-conscious and luxury consumers’ attention.

The specialty sale site opportunity:

Advanced in-home water purification tech is a relatively new product category, so a specialty site with informative content is essential for conversion. An immersive site experience and a preorder offer would have improved product positioning and increased initial sales velocity.

5. Premium stationery gym tech 

When gyms across the country closed, consumers looked to brands like Peloton and Hydrow for new ways to stay fit while staying at home. For yoga, barre, and HIIT enthusiasts, Lululemon’s Mirror offered an innovative alternative to in-studio classes. 

The specialty sale opportunity: 

It can be hard to imagine how brands like Peloton could have possibly had a better year with sales surging 232%, skyrocketing earned media exposure and endorsements from Beyoncé. However, meeting order expectations was a challenge, so a dedicated microsite would have helped to smooth traffic flow during heavy demand while delivering a premium checkout experience to customers at all times.

Image of young woman on Peloton stationary bike

6. Micro-current, IPL, and percussive massage devices 

As spas and aestheticians’ offices closed or operated at half-capacity, consumers invested in devices that could offer a spa-like beauty experience from home.  Devices like the My NuFace microcurrent facial toning device and Braun’s Silk-Expert Pro IPL offered a convenient option that still felt luxe. And no consumer electronics product defined 2020 quite as eloquently as Theragun’s cordless, full-body massager, which found its way into TikTok feeds and memes as consumers bemoaned the stress and tension caused by extended social isolation.

The specialty sale site opportunity:

  • Gated specialty sales and time-bound promotional offers could have brought incremental sales while giving back to beleaguered consumers and creating media buzz.
  • Specialty sales sites offering personalization options such as custom engraving or special gift-wrapping could have closed the deal for consumers looking for an apropos personal care gift fit.

Keep the spotlight where it belongs

From premium headphones and home gym tech to at-home aesthetic treatment devices and air purifiers, the consumer electronics that made their way into consumer’s homes and budgets last year were unique in their focus on health, wellness, and at-home entertainment. Had brands invested in private sales, product drop events, flash sales, or specialty product web stores to promote these products, we believe the sales margins and consumer satisfaction rates would have been even higher. With the right eCommerce solutions and strategies in your toolbox, your business can build and optimize its DTC sales channels even in challenging times. Consider partnering with an eCommerce solutions partner for consumer electronics product launches and private sales events when legacy eCommerce platforms fall short.

A specialty web store for your next product launch can help you:

  • Take advantage of specialty sales sites designed for promotional offers, product launches, and limited releases.
  • Present sales events alongside educational content and immersive experiences for earned media attention.
  • Encourage customer conversations and engagement with native features like social sharing and loyalty program management.

With the right resources in place, the next cutting-edge consumer electronic products will get the attention—and sales numbers—they rightfully deserve.

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