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Major Appliances To Lead Smart-Home Market By 2021: IHS

Following a false start with energy-aware smart-grid appliances, the white-goods industry is now on track to dominate the connected-home market in four years.

That’s the forecast from market research firm IHS Markit Technology, which already pegs appliances as the fourth-largest category of smart devices in unit shipments worldwide.

According to IHS principal analyst Blake Kozak, majaps’ smart standing stems from the Wi-Fi capabilities that are already embedded on many kitchen and laundry products, and merely await activation by manufacturers.

Appliance vendors are motivated by the wealth of consumer data that can be collected from connected refrigerators and washers, Kozak observed in a research note, although most will need a third-party assist to help manage and service their networked wares — particularly those featuring voice control.

In contrast to rising shipments, the number of consumers that are actually using their appliances’ smart features remains “very small” due to limited use cases and cumbersome home-network hookups.

“Appliance manufacturers need to make the setup dead simple,” Kozak maintained, and “to educate the customer on use cases in order to justify the process of connecting the appliance to a network.”

Overall, the smart-home market has seen explosive growth since 2010, when fewer than 0.5 percent of homes in the Western Hemisphere had connected devices. This year nearly 7 percent of Americas-region households will be connected, with an average of six devices per home, IHS said, representing 48 percent of a $14.7 billion global market.

Of that, some $11.4 billion will be spent on large-ticket smart items including majaps.

IHS projects that 10 percent of households worldwide will be connected by 2025.