In 2016 the smart home appliances sector gathered pace as global shipments grew to 247 million refrigeration and laundry units, a 4% increase on the previous year.
The anticipated volume for the smart home appliances market is expected to continue to grow over the next five years to a value of $85 billion a year, according to a report published by Futuresource Consulting.
Emerging markets in Asia and Africa, where consumers are acquiring devices for the first time, are reported to have contributed to the rapid growth.
Sales in the established markets of North America and Western Europe were 3%, whilst Latin America underperformed for the second year running due to economic uncertainty.
Filipe Oliveira, Market Analyst at Futuresource Consulting said, “Manufacturers are now focusing on the inclusion of smart features and we anticipate that half of all home appliances that ship in 2021 will offer online connectivity.
”For example, LG and Hoover have committed to implementing connectivity within all their appliances this year.
”Other major players such as Bosch and Samsung have announced plans to follow suit by 2020.”
Futuresource Consulting forecasts a trend towards high capacity laundry models across all regions.
Dryers are experiencing strong growth in Southern Europe, where historically sales have been low.
Across Western Europe and North America premium refrigeration devices, including multi-door and specialist features such as ice dispensers, are slipping into the middle range of the mature market sector.
“Connectivity has the potential to open the door for manufacturers to provide services linked to the major domestic appliances that they sell.
”These could include diagnostic and maintenance services, management and ordering of consumables, improved fabric care or even enhanced cooking experiences,” Oliveira said.
The average retail price of major appliances is declining; however research indicates the consumer buying trends are favouring higher-end devices with smart features in the mature markets predicted to stabilise prices within the sector.
Futuristic smart homes
BBC Research and Development has conducted research exploring the digital age and how smart technology experiences are expanding beyond television sets.
It is undertaking user research to explore the effect displays like ‘smart wallpaper’ can have on feelings of immersion in content when used in companion to television.
In its ‘Unconventional Screens’ report the BBC said: “We are not attempting to build the physical technology, instead we are anticipating its emergence and designing potential user experiences”.