Smarten up!

By Daniel Todaro, Managing Director, Gekko

When the CEO of BT’s Consumer Division, Marc Allera, announces that the average UK household will contain 50 connected devices by 2023, it’s a sure-fire signal that the smart home sub-sector will continue its growth trajectory and still has some boom opportunities for retail.

In the context of the ever-increasing cost of living, Energy Savings Products within the smart home category are pivotal to many, especially when lots of consumers are looking for ways to save money. Features from timed switch-on to smarter regulating, whether this is for water or heating, are amongst the many features devices such as these offer a cost-conscious consumer.

So, with an estimated 57 per cent of Britain’s homes having a smart device, it makes the UK smart home industry worth approximately £7 billion per annum. Revenue is expected to show an annual growth rate of 12.08 per cent, resulting in a projected market volume of £13.05bn by 2027.

So, this category is definitely one worth considering! For those who know, Matter-enabled products are the future and will enable increased growth across the smart home category. With the Matter initiative and its implementation across future smart tech, it will allow users to unify with one app their product from brands with unique ecosystems, which could result in more than one purchase in-store as the consumer is not tied down to a single ecosystem, thus able to shop around to meet their budget. So, for example, if a customer wants smart lighting, they could choose a brand like Philips alongside a more budget-friendly option to save money.

This development in the evolution of smart products is revolutionary, if you take the example of Security Products to which a consumer will usually connect multiple devices, e.g. a doorbell cam, a camera or security lighting for your back garden and decide to get a smart a door lock, you are no longer tied down to get this and other products from the same brand. In general, not all smart security devices aren’t part of the initial roll-out of the Matter protocol, however, the products will still likely benefit from an uplift in interest thanks to greater interoperability.

As a category, smart security revenue is expected to show an average growth of 11.83 per cent, resulting in a projected market volume from £900 million to £1.41 billion by 2027.

GfK recently commented: “Smart devices generally have benefited from consumers’ drive to create simplicity in their home lives. Intruder security devices, sales of which have grown strongly since the start of the pandemic, now increasingly offer smart connectivity with smartphones and the home ecosystem, enabling users to detect whether or not they have a window open, for example, and then adjust the heating accordingly.”

With the ease of use and flexibility of installation becoming easier, it’s no wonder its popularity is increasing. The convenience factor offered is a huge draw, as well as the peace of mind such devices can give. A doorbell camera for example can give a new perspective to your front door area while also showing some great comedic moments from guests. Most new build homes are smart and therefore when upgrading your current property, smart devices are now a normal feature in the wish list and it is obvious to see why, when we as a nation use smart speakers and smart heating devices as the most popular devices in our homes, with 79 per cent of owners of smart home tech having one or both of these.

When training retail staff and creating messaging around the smart category, it’s important to address consumers’ concerns as speculation or hearsay may deter some shoppers who are keen but reticent.

As identified by YouGov, when it comes to the reasons that non-owners have not considered buying any smart home devices it’s due to security fears. About 39 per cent of respondents stated that security fears are their biggest concern, representing the greatest barrier to a consumer’s entry into the category. The second barrier is cost with 36 per cent that they do not have any smart devices for this reason, a reason that any retailer with the right display and knowledgeable staff can overcome at the point of purchase.