Smart fridges to come out of cold in $342 billion boom

Smart fridges to come out of cold in $342 billion boom

Increasing interest in the Internet of Things (IoT) could drive smart appliance revenues to over $342 billion worldwide, claims a new report.

When analysts started talking about the IoT a few years ago, smart fridges were the archetypal example used by Gartner and others. Since then, the smart ‘white goods’ concept has been in a media deep freeze, while other markets have heated up.

But all that could be set to change, according to a new report from Navigant Research. It finds that the smart appliance market is poised for growth over the next decade as consumers become more familiar with the Internet of Things.

The report, Smart Appliances Expand Smart Home IoT Opportunity for Energy Customers, forecasts that smart white goods revenues are expected to total more than $342.4 billion between 2017 and 2027.

AI with everything

Consumers have mostly avoided smart appliances due to higher price points and a lack of perceived value, says the report, but this is starting to change. Their uptake could have implications for a variety of stakeholders, include manufacturers, retailers, utilities, home builders, regulators, and insurers.

“The growing smart home IoT market is helping drive new interest in the typically sluggish smart appliances subsegment,” said Neil Strother, principal research analyst at Navigant Research.

“The smart appliance market segment is now ready for a healthy growth spurt over the next decade as appliance manufacturers, retailers, and utilities embrace smart appliances, and then convince buyers of the benefits. These include enhanced energy efficiency, improved maintenance capabilities, and greater convenience through connectivity.”

Strother said that evidence for this growth was in trends such as Korean electronics giant Samsung adding smart features to all its home appliance products by 2020, including artificial intelligence and voice recognition. Meanwhile, Sharp has set itself a goal of selling three million smart appliances in Japan in 2019, up from just 30,000 in 2017.

Read more: Samsung pledges to make all products IoT ready by 2020

Focus essential, says report

According to the report, with a “proper focus” by industry stakeholders, smart appliances could become a more robust market that benefits buyers and sellers. All stakeholders should be able to ride the smart home wave, if they execute their marketing strategies properly, it suggests.

The report recommends that utilities should use their influence to spur smart appliance adoption and set industry standards. At the same time, manufacturers need to improve their marketing and provide a better value proposition.

Appliance retailers should work on multiple fronts to encourage adoption, while home builders and contractors should embrace smart appliances for their greater energy efficiency, urges the report.

It adds that regulators should promote standards to ensure secure, interoperable products and insurance companies should also promote the benefits.

Internet of Business says

Analysts provide a valuable service to different communities by mapping industry trends and setting out buyers’ and sellers’ strategies. But many have a tough time calculating and putting credible figures against their forecasts.

In 2013, for example, Navigant claimed that the annual value of the smart appliance market would grow from $613 million in 2012 to $34.9 billion in 2020. It is now forecasting revenues 10 times higher than that over a seven-year period from 2020. 

Read more: Smart homes and the IoT changing consumer attitudes to energy

Read more: Alexa beware! New smart home tests reveal serious privacy flaws

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