Even before our society redefined how it interacts on and offline, connected home devices were rising in popularity. Forced to spend more time at home and away from in-person communities, the desire of tech-savvy consumers to create a smart-home environment to cohabit during working and leisure hours propelled smart devices into a new era of product adoption.
The second half of 2020 saw the global smart home market grow about 13% in revenue compared to 2019. Further, research firm Omdia estimates that the global smart home market was worth about $58.5 billion in 2020 and forecasts it to exceed $167 billion in 2025. As more homeowners accept the idea of an integrated and holistic smart home experience, builders and smart device manufacturers have the opportunity to increase their value proposition.
But what kinds of products are homeowners looking for?
We’ve gathered some examples of smart home devices rising in popularity around the globe. Read on to discover what features make these products so attractive to homeowners and to understand the target market for each.
Example: Voice controlled kitchen appliances are no longer a concept. Technology and kitchen appliance brands are now releasing products with voice-control capabilities in order to make the cooking experience more convenient for those who spend a lot of time in the kitchen.
Target market: The appeal of connected homes for consumers is that they’re able to streamline and organize day-to-day household management tasks and routines. Between work, raising children, social lives, and/or maintaining personal health and hobbies, consumers are increasingly turning to brands that help make their daily activities feel more manageable.
Example: There are many kitchen appliances such as air fryers and other smart cookers that assist consumers in preparing meals quickly and from the comfort of their homes. Such appliances work with a series of pre-programmed settings that enable users to plan meals in advance, set reminders and quickly prepare a range of recipes.
Target market: Consumers (especially younger generations) rely on technology for many day to day tasks, including household chores and cooking. They value convenience, efficiency and ease of use — all of which modern, tech enabled smart kitchen appliances provide. Features such as automation, remote (smartphone) control and anything that makes life and tasks easier, all help to cater to the needs of this busy, modern day consumer.
Example: As the concept of the smart home expands and voice-control becomes a common feature of products, kid-friendly features enter the user interface of AI home assistants. These features can engage, entertain and monitor children, thereby alleviating some parental stress.
Target market: Being part of a digital-savvy generation, Millennials are most likely to invite technology to play a formative part in their child’s life. The integration of these features into the home allows for the parental aids to be omnipresent and close by when needed, adding a layer of convenience and security. In turn, this soothes the stress some might experience when they attempt to juggle life’s tasks — from going to work and doing chores to cooking meals for their kids and keeping up with the news.
Example: Smart home pet doors are sold as aftermarket units that can be used with an existing pet door for one or more pets. They will automatically track how often a dog is going out and coming in, while also allowing owners to set curfew times. Owners can lock and unlock the unit remotely via their smartphone.
Target market: Primarily taking off in North American markets, smart home pet doors show equal adoption among male and female consumers.
The smart home is growing with 37% of all internet connected homes having at least one smart home device. Adoption is predicted to continue to rise as purchase intentions are at an all-time high.
However, this increase in popularity has not come without some setbacks for consumers, retailers, and suppliers alike, which pose challenges for brands attempting to emerge in the space. Top challenges include:
High smart product return rates, due to incompatibility with other devices or brands
Slow internet speeds hampering customer perceptions of the product
Loss of device connectivity interfering with customer experience
So, what can home improvement product manufacturers do to increase market adoption of existing and new to market smart home products?
Many of the most valuable features of smart home devices are those that help make homeowners’ lives quicker, easier or more efficient. Position around that.
Further, if you can integrate a sensor into your product that alerts a homeowner of maintenance needs, or of urgent issues, you will improve customers’ quality of life and sense of control over their environment.
Consumers who are shopping for smart devices for their homes are not only shopping through a lens of improving their quality of life, though. In certain product categories, smart home devices have quickly become an aid for the resale value of the home. This will matter increasingly during shifts from a seller’s to buyer’s markets and during a cooler housing market in general.
Looking ahead to the future, a holistic smart home experience free of clashing technology platforms is something younger, more internet-savvy and connected generations are signaling appreciation for as they move into home buying years.
Partnering with developers and other smart device manufacturers to create an integrated experience is one strategy for helping your brand become synonymous with the new era of smart homes.
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