Market research firm Futuresource Consulting said that in 2017, 3.6 per cent of the shipments of laundry and refrigeration in the UK featured a Wi-Fi connection. This amounts to around 300,000 units in a total market of just below eight million units.
Felipe Oliveira, a market analyst at Futuresource Consulting, says: “The smart appliance market has been growing fast from a small base in the UK. We forecast 89 per cent growth in 2018. By the end of the year, smart appliances should account for 10 per cent of the overall appliances market.
“Consumer research conducted by Futuresource Consulting in April 2018 in France, Germany, the US and the UK showed that across all markets price is the biggest barrier to adoption. In the UK, 55 per cent of consumers who lack interest in purchasing a smart appliance say that the main reason is that they are “too expensive”.
The second biggest barrier, Mr Oliveira says, is lack of enticing use cases. Some 47 per cent of consumers in the UK say that they do not see a use for smart appliances.
So, will voice interaction, via Alexa or Google Home, for example, be the trigger that drives sales of smart appliances?
Mr Oliveira says: “The short answer is no. Our research shows that voice assistance has been a driver in smart home devices such as smart lighting or smart climate control, however, it is not having the same impact in smart appliances. One reason for this is that major appliances are big ticket items that tend to be replaced once every decade. Most consumers replace their refrigeration or laundry machines only when they break.
“Voice assistance is not set to be a purchase trigger in appliances in the same way that it is in smart lighting for example.”