Uptake of smart home devices continues apace and is on track to ship 137 million units in 2019, worth $16 billion in trade value, according to a new market report from Futuresource Consulting. That represents a 37% volume increase on 2018, with a slowdown in home hub sales being eclipsed by accelerating growth in other categories. And although growth remains strong, it is now tracking slightly below previous Futuresource forecasts.
“Smart home is one of the fastest growing categories in consumer electronics at the moment, with plenty of opportunities for vendors, retailers, the custom installation industry and service providers alike,” says Jack Wetherill, Principal Analyst at Futuresource Consulting. “Security and monitoring categories will account for the largest share of shipments this year and we’re seeing smart locks really take off as a category, with video doorbells and a range of other security and monitoring devices all creating a groundswell of activity.
“This has been helped along by retailers and service providers, who are playing a central role in raising profiles and getting products in front of consumers. For retailers, there’s the opportunity to provide services as well as sell more devices. The acquisition of Ring by Amazon in 2018 is the most prominent example of the opportunity that retailers see in smart home, as it can provide a gateway to facilitate home deliveries. For service providers, bundling smart home devices combines the creation of new revenue streams with churn reduction.”
Vendor VA Strategies
Voice assistants (VAs) are a key ingredient for smart home device uptake, though voice technology is not necessarily being built into the devices. Most vendors are following a works-with strategy, where their home automation devices can be controlled by voice commands when coupled with a smart speaker, though they have no voice technology of their own. Technically, more than one voice assistance platform can be built into a single device, but both Amazon and Google will only provide certification to devices that integrate a single VA technology. This effectively reduces the market of a “built in” device to consumers that use the platform that the vendor builds into the device.
“Smart home may begin to follow the lead of home audio,” says Wetherill. “Sonos launched a model in 2019, where users can choose one of the two platforms, albeit not both at once. Bose also follows the same model in its smart speakers and soundbars. Solutions for home automation may be just around the corner.”
Future Growth Prospects
Futuresource forecasts show smart home device shipments will continue to increase steadily across the reporting period, with a volume CAGR of 37% out to 2023. The 60-page smart home report provides an update on Futuresource Consulting’s research into smart home devices, including hubs and control devices, security and monitoring, climate control, lighting systems and smart power.