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Futuresource Consulting Expects Wi-Fi to Dominate Smart Laundry and Refrigeration Appliances

Connected refrigerators and washing machines more than doubled in sales in 2017 and are on course to represent more than half of the global market by 2021, according to Futuresource Consulting’s latest Worldwide Home Appliance Market report.

In the report, which has a special focus on smart laundry and refrigeration appliances, Wi-Fi is found to dominate connectivity because it can feed data back instantly to manufacturers which, in the long term, have an opportunity to become service providers.

Laundry is a €340 billion market worldwide, whereas refrigeration is worth €298 billion, comprising of 256 million laundry and refrigeration appliances at the end of 2017. That figure is expected to grow to just below 290 million in 2021 at a CAGR of 3.1%

The report data shows that value is growing faster than volume due to a moderate increase in unit prices, boosting global retail market value by 4% to €81 billion.

“The pressure caused by escalating production costs is one reason average prices have risen in 2017 – the first increase since 2014,” says Market Analyst at Futuresource Consulting Filipe Oliveira. “Another factor is the consumer’s appetite for appliances that sell at higher price points. This trend towards premiumisation is evident in demand for high capacity washing machines, multi-door fridge-freezers, stylish designs and also smart appliances.”

Smart appliances represent 3% of global shipments in these categories, but with Wi-Fi capabilities already embedded in many kitchen and laundry products – merely awaiting activation by manufacturers. “These appliances will account for more than half of global shipments by 2021,” adds Oliveira.

“Wireless Wi-Fi connectivity not only allows appliances to be remotely monitored, controlled or upgraded but the wealth of consumer data that can be collected from them is one of the key triggers for appliance vendors. It opens the door for major players to reposition their businesses from manufacturer to service provider.”

While several major OEMs have integrated either Amazon Alexa or Google Assistant or both, the report finds that VPAs (Voice Personal Assistants) have yet to impact smart laundry and refrigeration in the same way that it has impacted other areas of the smart home. The use cases of voice in cooking appliances, lighting or climate control systems, for example, are more evident than in laundry or refrigeration.

“While voice may not be a determinant factor in appliances, Artificial Intelligence (AI) definitely is,” says Oliveira. “Devices that learn and adapt to the profiles of each household, that adjust their consumption to save both costs and energy and that manage consumables appeal to consumers. Manufacturers which move more quickly to integrate AI and that manage to do so cost efficiently will hold an advantage.”

Compiled from research conducted in Q4 2017, the report supplies a definitive outlook for the worldwide home refrigeration and laundry appliance market, with detailed reviews of products Dryers, Washer Dryers, Washing Machines, Fridges, Freezers and Fridge-Freezers. It provides market data for 2016 and an outlook on key developments from 2017- 2021 in Americas (Latin America, North America) Asia Pacific and Europe with commentary accompanied by detailed Excel graphs.

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