Key Trends Shaping the Future for Connected Home in Retail


£10.8 billion is expected to be spent on smart home devices this year as household penetration is up to 10.9%, expecting to rise to 22.5% by 2023. So how can retailers harness this fast-growing pace of the connected home? We take an in-depth look at the Connected Home retail market through the lens of a shopper to uncover key insights, technology and some of the best customer experiences in the market.

3 Key Shopper Insights

Cars that unlock when you speak to them. Fridges that reorder milk just when you need more. Today connected home is an integral part of life for many as we become increasingly dependent on our personal electronic devices and the convenience they bring. Smart home technology has incredible potential, early adopters and tech-lovers are already enjoying the benefits. The retail shopping experience and demonstration of connected home tech and its benefits needs a rethink to accelerate the journey towards becoming mainstream.

1. 44% of 18-24 year-olds believe the prices of smart home products are reasonable compared with 34% in 2017.

Consumers feel that the price of smart home products are more aligned to their expectations, particularly for younger shoppers who are more digitally connected than ever before.

2. 71% of households are concerned about the ability of ‘hackers’ to access internet-connected appliances of security products. The concern for data compromises is across all age groups, ranging from 64% of 18-24 year-olds to 77% of over-65s.

Reassurance is important for consumers. Before making a purchasing decision, consumers can gather trustworthy information about a product from web searches, in-store and online recommendations as well as advice from family and friends. Retailers therefore have the opportunity to be a part of this conversation every step of the way.

Image source: Sonos

3. 41% of households plan to own a digital assistant in the next five years.

As digital home assistants continue to rise, products such as smart speakers and wearable technology may begin to fall behind in five years' time.

Innovating the Senses

Connected home technology has incredible potential. Early adopters and tech-lovers are already enjoying the benefits of second-generation Smart Home technologies, however, to accelerate the journey toward becoming mainstream, retailers are taking interesting steps to educate consumers.

The John Lewis Smart Home experience is already expanding customers’ understanding of the possibilities. Featuring four distinct zones – Kitchen, Entertainment, Sleep and Home Monitoring – their in-store Smart Home spaces enable anyone to experience the technology first hand, including security and heating products.

Clear visual prompt messages, printed on pillowcases and furniture invite consumers to interact with Google Assistant using everyday commands such as “Hey Google, play Netflix” or “Hey Google, turn on the lamp”. By experiencing the products for themselves, customers can see which will benefit them the most.

Image source: Conamar

Interesting Experiences

Retailers have found the smart home to be a difficult sell to consumers, particularly in traditional retail environments. The retail shopping experience and demonstration of connected home tech and its benefits need a rethink.

Retailers such as Amazon are blazing a trail with professionally designed pop-up stores. The staff are engaging, highly personal and knowledgeable. They seem relaxed in marketing the Amazon range of smart home solutions which puts shoppers at ease in the presence of smart home technology and more receptive to having it in their homes.

Image source: Good Lookin Kids

As customers are getting to grips with smart home technology, retailers have had to put education at the forefront of their strategies. The brands that help to make shoppers feel confident in smart tech's abilities and allow them to feel capable of controlling them are the real winners in the connected home retail market.

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