Smart Appliance Update

by Patrice Samuels | Jun. 24, 2020

Smart major appliances emerged in the US market in 2011. However, like smart home devices, adoption rates for different categories of smart appliances remain fairly low. Eleven percent of US broadband households report owning a smart appliance. Smart refrigerators, clothes washers, and smart microwaves have highest adoption.

Adoption barriers such as high prices, perceived poor value proposition, slow replacement rates, and limited product availability restrain growth in these markets. However, large manufacturers are investing in new features to improve the value proposition of connected appliances.

Developments in AI and new partnerships are helping appliance manufacturers to enhance the feature sets of smart appliances in an effort to meet core value propositions of improving convenience, minimizing waste, improving food quality, conserving energy, and improving safety. At CES 2020, LG and Samsung introduced new versions of the LG InstaView refrigerators and Samsung Family Hub. These refrigerators boast integrated AI smart cameras that can identify different foods in the refrigerator. The integration of these cameras enables meal planning features that help users utilize the food they have on hand to minimize waste. The technology is also being leveraged to help users create grocery lists. Additionally, LG has introduced an AI-based feature called “Proactive Customer Care.” This feature monitors elements of appliances, such as temperature and air flow for a refrigerator, to alert users of potential problems. These new smart appliance features from Samsung and LG can drive market appeal through increasing convenience, product longevity, and value.

As the smart appliance market gains traction, more manufacturers are starting to enter the space, increasing competition. Traditional players Maytag and Sharp both entered the market in 2019. In late 2019, tech giant Amazon entered the space with a smart microwave and smart oven. As market competition for smart appliances heats up, it will be important to understand which devices and features appeal to consumers and can drive competitive advantage.

Parks Associates’ recently published report Smart Major Appliance: Adoption and Preferences examines adoption of smart major appliances among US broadband households. It assesses purchase intentions, factors influencing purchases, channel preferences, and effective purchase triggers. It also studies installation methods and use of appliances including feature preferences and user experience.

Tags: smart home

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