The US smart home industry is set to reach an impressive $46.77 billion by 2025. But what exactly is ‘smart living’? In a nutshell, it’s a trend that’s seeing consumers increase their standard of living through integrated technology in the home. How? By having greater control of their homes than ever before through increased efficiency, productivity, and integration – all alongside improved sustainability.
This progression has been made possible thanks to advancing technologies, such as AI and IoT. This emerging technology has allowed once ordinary home devices and appliances, – from doorbells to dishwashers – to become ‘smart’ and as a result, more helpful for consumers.
In this article, we will explore the impact that the new age of tech is having on consumers when it comes to buyer behavior and purchasing patterns for large home appliances, such as white goods.
Smart Home Tech Trends
As we’ve already outlined above, the smart home market is set to reach new heights by 2025 in terms of both expenditure and exposure. Why are more consumers choosing to live smartly?
One reason for this increased spend is the globally-observed rise in home improvements and renovations over the last few years. Whether consumers are looking to completely retrofit their kitchen or utility space, or simply upgrade aspects of what they already have, the home improvement industry has seen significant growth in the last couple of years. According to recent research, the home improvement market will surpass $762.9 billion in 20202 and is expected to exhibit a CAGR of more than 4.3% from 2021 to 2027.
Consumers are placing more importance and emphasis on higher living standards, comfortable homes, and luxury , which is accelerating the rising demand for smarter living and by extension, smart appliances. Pair this with the increased number of consumers spending more time at home due to the worldwide pandemic, and it’s clear to see why expenditure has risen so sharply.
These devices and appliances are packed full of value-adding features, designed to make our lives easier in every way possible. Increasingly, the ability to connect and integrate separate appliances is driving interest in the acquisition of complementary or compatible products. Control panels to help facilitate easier and unified management of your connected devices for example are increasingly popular. The ability to easily integrate new devices into an existing home system removes more barriers to purchase and helps drive an improved ongoing user experience by removing the need to control devices at a modular level.
Other smart living benefits include things like improved home security. Home security systems have been around for years but products such as smart doorbells have ushered in real transformation within this space, with motion-sensor images, soundtracking, and integrated emergency services functions.
Increased energy efficiency and sustainability factors also have a huge role to play in the rise in smart goods’ popularity. For consumers concerned about their global footprint, smart appliances are a great way to reduce it. They are inherently more energy and water efficient as they only use exactly what they need to operate, and they typically function at a much higher level than their predecessors. These greener products also come with the bonus of cost savings, greater comfort, and greater health benefits – it’s a win-win.
The technologies that will come out on top
When it comes to making a household appliance ‘smart’, the technology underpinning the device in question makes all the difference and ultimately dictates the intended outcome and functionality of the appliance. The most commonplace connectivity technology used for smart appliances are AI and IoT and with good reason. There’s a whole host of smart living use cases for this innovative tech.
IoT home automation provides consumers with the ability to control domestic appliances such as dishwashers, washing machines, and even vacuums, all via electronically-controlled, internet-connected systems. If you’re at work and want to put a washing load on, all you have to do is simply click a few buttons via an app on your smartphone and you’ll come home to freshly washed clothes. This tech enables more than simple commands – devices can be interconnected and paired together to increase functionality. Integrated IoT sensors within a refrigerator can send alerts when certain products are running low or about to expire, and a connected voice assistant device can then add that product to your online shopping list. The possibilities are endless – the opportunities for accessibility, as well as simple convenience, are significant.
AI is the other technology inherently integrated with the smart appliance world. This is mainly because they allow for voice activation and recognition, which facilitates a completely in-house, hands-free experience for consumers. One small voice assistant device sitting on your kitchen counter can do everything from order clothes online to play music – and their scope will only increase over time.
Once these devices are integrated into the home, consumers can then control them all seamlessly via a central hub, whether that’s in the form of a wall-mounted control panel in the home or a smartphone app.
In the not-so-distant future, all large appliances and white goods will inevitably be internet-enabled, and emerging technologies will allow for even greater functionality and consumer benefits. Retailers will need to ensure they’re offering the goods and services in line with this growing trend, or risk losing market share to competitors.
So, we know why consumers are choosing the smart living life and the technologies that are facilitating the trend, but how are these factors measuring up to white goods consumer trends?
How is all of this impacting white goods consumer trends?
Consumer buyer behavior has changed substantially over the last few years, especially when it comes to goods and services purchased for the home. Taking into account the emergence and involvement of smart white goods and it’s easy to see why purchase patterns might have changed.
We know that consumer expenditure around home tech trends in terms of improvements and renovations rose dramatically in relation to the global COVID-19 pandemic. This resulted in consumers spending less time and money on things like travel and socializing and more time and money on home improvements. Shelter in place instruction from governments also meant that consumers were spending more time at home, so it stands to reason that they’d want to make that time as comfortable and luxurious as possible.
As more of us spend more time at home, our desire to have a more efficient life within the home grows. Efficiency is a key driver for many consumers purchasing smart white goods as they take the hassle out of simple and mundane tasks such as ‘remember to put the washing on before you go out. In turn, this enables us to spend less time doing house chores and more time doing important things like connecting with family and friends.
This is a big one. The global pandemic had a huge hand to play in consumers purchasing goods online over visiting physical bricks and mortar stores. Worldwide e-commerce sales reached an eye-watering $4.9 trillion at the start of 2022. The rise in online purchases has also led to a rise in comparison research. Consumers now have everything they could need at the click of a button or swipe of a finger. Whether they’re using laptops, tablets, or mobile devices, consumers are conducting more initial research and digesting more content before making a purchase than ever before, especially when it’s a large ticket item like a washing machine, fridge freezer, or oven. The smarter the appliance, the more features, and integrations they’re likely to want to explore and research.
The white goods market is expected to reach $11,031.0 billion by 2027 and if retailers want to ensure market share and encourage consumers to spend their spend with them, then they need to consider every piece of content when targeting different buyer personas, to ensure they provide all the necessary information upfront.
To tap into these trends quickly and effectively, white goods retailers need to a) ensure they’re offering the products that consumers want, i.e. increasingly smart white goods and appliances, and b) ensure that these products are available on consumers’ preferred channels.
However, assuming the lingering supply chain issues of the pandemic have been mitigated, it’s not enough to simply provide the goods. Retailers need to ensure that they include all the relevant information relating to both Product Information Management (PIM) and Digital Asset Management (DAM) for every product.
The Effectus Content Platform offers retailers the chance to combine their PIM and DAM information in one simple-to-use solution. By having all information across every channel consistent, up-to-date and unified, consumers receive a better customer experience that is likely to result in loyal and returning customers for retailers. Smarter appliances with increased attributes, features, and settings to showcase? All handled with ease.
Retailers can also benefit from alerts for content scoring to see where improvements can be made, and AI-enabled preventive measure systems so issues or inconsistencies are flagged early on. Furthermore, dual syndication allows seamless importing from supplier catalogs and exporting to digital marketplaces with ease and accuracy for greater efficiency.
So, if you’re a retailer looking to grow your market share when it comes to smart white goods industry trends, schedule a demo with an ECP expert today to see how we can help.
Link to this blog once live – “High End / Luxury White Goods – How Are Consumer Purchase Trends Evolving?”