It seems that everything is connected to the internet these days. From refrigerators that let us know we’re out of milk to mattresses that tell us how well we slept, everything is now considered “smart”. While there are certainly early adopters who have jumped at the chance to quantify and automate their daily lives, are there any standouts in these days of the Internet of Things?
TraQline’s data on connected devices (last four quarters ending Q3 2016) shows that devices such as connected thermostats and LED light bulbs are faring much better than connected appliances and door locks. At this time, more than 60% of thermostats sold are smart or connected thermostats. On the other hand, only about 10% of appliances sold are smart appliances. So what’s influencing sales of smart devices right now? The TraQline team has a few ideas:
We’re still in the early days
Many connected devices are probably bought by early adopters. An astonishing 62% of US households were not aware that internet-connected devices were available for purchase. As time goes on, we’ll see smart devices work their way into more households across the nation. For now though, many devices are so new that all but the most enthusiastic adopters are probably still on the fence.
One potential reason that consumers are more likely to embrace connected thermostats and IP/Security cameras is their lower price point. In fact, the average price consumers pay for a connected security camera is less than the average price for a non-connected security camera.
While a connected thermostat is still pricier than a non-connected thermostat, there are still potential benefits. On the other hand, a connected refrigerator can cost almost $4,000. This is a much greater up-front cost, and could impede those who might otherwise consider adopting smart appliances.
It’s possible to find connected thermostats for less than $100, though they can go up in price. The prospect of long-term savings could sway consumers. For example, Nest reports that homes that install one of their connected thermostats have an estimated average savings of $131-$145 annually. Connected LED bulbs last significantly longer than incandescent or CFL bulbs (some LED bulbs are rated up to 50,000 hours).
As of yet, refrigerators don’t provide the same monetary savings that connected LED bulbs or thermostats do. While they’re frequently energy efficient, you don’t save any extra money by having a connected fridge versus a “dumb” fridge.
What’s the benefit?
Similar to financial savings, saving time and effort can also make some IoT devices more appealing than others. Being able to adjust a thermostat without leaving your nest of blankets, or turning on the lights with a spoken word has obvious benefits. There’s no braving the (relative) cold or fumbling for a light switch involved. The benefits of an internet connected fridge are a bit less obvious. If consumers decide checking the contents of their fridge via an app will save them trouble in the long run, we may see more consumers invest in those connected products. In addition, when a device can clearly communicate its connected benefit to the consumer, we’re more likely to purchase it.
Overall, the most popular products are ones that provide clear financial and time/effort saving advantages, lower price points, and easily identifiable benefits. As more people warm up to the idea of smart devices that hit all three of these criteria, we should see them continue to grow in the market. So perhaps you’re considering dipping your toes into the Internet of Things with a few connected bulbs and a security camera tied together with Amazon’s Alexa or Apple’s Home app. Maybe you’re taking the plunge and going all in with connected appliances and a smart lock. In the end, this is only the beginning of the IoT era, and TraQline will be here to show its growth. Have another reason that some smart products have taken off, while others haven’t? We’d love to hear it! Tweet us at @TraQline.