Consumers Show Growing Interest in Voice-Controlled Products
Despite a challenging business environment, the global Technical Consumer Goods (TCG) industry has inched back to $799 billion (excluding North America), according to GfK. It is a 2 percent value growth in the full year.
Smart product segments performed better than average, resulting in a revival of 24 percent to $28 billion across EU7 markets (Germany, France, Great Britain, Italy, Spain, Netherlands, Belgium). Alert detectors, robot vacuum cleaners and cooking ranges enjoyed high demand driven by the ‘stay at home’ focus. Sales of voice-controlled products saw explosive growth of almost 61 percent in 2020, making them one of the best sellers of the year. Overall TCG delivered a V-shaped recovery, with the developed world experiencing a much stronger revival as consumers invested in their homes.
TVs claimed a significant portion of that value uptick. But consumers went beyond visual entertainment to fill their spare time. The sales of smart headsets increased over 100 percent in 2020. Looking at 2021, this category continues to enjoy high demand at 54 percent. GfK expects this appetite to continue throughout the year. The pandemic also spotlighted health and hygiene which catapulted the Smart Small Domestic Appliances and Smart Health Sector to growth. This was the fastest growing segment across EU7 with +41 percent increase.
In 2020, Germany and Great Britain were the biggest markets by value for smart products. The Netherlands led the growth with an increase of 44 percent in value. However, smart growth was concentrated: two thirds (66 percent) of the total smart segments value rises originated from Entertainment and Office sector. Smart penetration in other sectors remained much lower. The virtual speaker is emerging as a smart home success story as voice control is becoming the way consumers interact with their smart products. Sales of voice-controlled products saw explosive growth of almost 61 percent in 2020, making them one of the best sellers of the year.
“The popularity of smart robot vacuum cleaners, smart alert detectors, smart LED and cooking appliances during 2020 proves that tangible benefits do motivate consumers to upgrade to the “smart” version of household products. As more consumers buy smart products and become convinced by their tangible benefits and ease of use, smart will cross the chasm to mass market appeal. However, what shouldn’t be forgotten is the need for transparency about privacy policies and interoperability of different brands. If manufacturers manage to bring all this together this will make smart products relevant for the end-consumer whose outlook is focused on enjoying the benefits of intelligent, personalized smart tech in their lives,” said Nevin Francis, GfK’s expert on technical consumer goods.