Now that smart products are even easier to install and implement into homes, it is easy to see why the smart home segment has become one of Australia’s fastest-growing DIY sectors.
With Australia’s smart home industry expected to reach US$3.24 billion in value this year, and increase to US$4.61 billion by 2027, the ongoing growth is being attributed to consumers becoming increasingly aware of how smart home products can improve their lifestyle and also make homes more sustainable. Incredibly over 40 per cent of consumers are now willing to spend more than $1500 on smart home devices per household.
Smart home devices not only make it seamless for consumers to interact with their home through their smartphone or computer, but now have the potential to decrease the cost of living as well. With the cost of living a current pressing issue for Australians, along with the recent announcement that gas prices are set to increase by 20 per cent this month, homeowners are now using smart home products to monitor their home’s energy usage and ensure a high level of energy efficiency is implemented.
When smart home products are streamlined directly to electrical products, including lighting, heating and cooling appliances, homeowners have the ability to reduce their energy consumption by up to 30 per cent. Smart thermostats are also now being implemented into the home because it allows users to control heating remotely and ensure their heaters are only in use when the home is occupied and within zoned areas.
It seems that smart thermostats are just some of the many smart home products set to grow in popularity this year, with products such as in-home robots also expected to gain momentum after dropping in price and becoming more of an enticing purchase. Robot vacuums and robot lawnmowers are now more affordable than ever and have become more innovative with multi-purpose cleaners now having the ability to vacuum, mop, and empty automatically.
Smart lighting is also expected to gain momentum this year as consumers utilise smart lighting as a way to improve security around the home and give the illusion that their home is occupied while they are away.
Post-COVID consumers have again embraced smart health products as wellness gadgets are trending up. Air purification devices are top of the popularity list, with some devices now adjusting power automatically to ensure that air inside the home is allergen-free.
Then of course voice-controlled devices have become an in-home essential and are now a part of everyday life with Apple Siri, Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant selling over 300 million devices worldwide. Users have gone on to pair such devices with products such as Google Nest Audio so their doors, lights and even window coverings may all be operated via voice control.
Exciting in-home set-ups
ASSA ABLOY Opening Solutions Australia’s Product Manager, Lauren Kendall agrees that consumers not only want to create “fun” setups by implementing smart products throughout their homes but are also more aware of how smart home security products can make life simpler and more secure.
“Usability and convenience are key factors that drive consumers to purchase a smart security device. Growing awareness on climate change and sustainability is also driving consumers to seek out power-saving options within the home and this is another evolving trend within the smart home solution space. As consumers become more technologically aware, they have the confidence to implement such devices into the home,” Ms Kendall said.
“Whilst research shows there are a small number of consumers who choose not to invest in smart devices, due to trust issues and privacy concerns, there is still a significant group of consumers who are very interested in the smart home security space. This is why it is so important to implement product education in-store and also market the high level of security that has been implemented into these products. This remains a top priority for our development,” she said.
Another evolving trend within the home security space, not only in Australia but globally, is the growing need for smart-home-care options for the aging population, Ms Kendall says.
“Smart security products give the ability to monitor in-home access, share access with carers and family members, and also enable people to enjoy in-home living for longer than usual,” Ms Kendall said.
When strategically marketing smart homes and products, social media has continued to be a driving factor in purchasing decisions, particularly for those homeowners who wish to upgrade their smart locks.
Ms Kendall says it seems that many consumers now conduct a lot of their research online before making their purchasing decisions, especially through social media and real-life consumer reviews.
“Homeowners conduct their research prior to making a purchase decision so ensuring we have targeted social media adverts, sufficient product information and product support on our website, as well as channel consumers, is key to generating product interest,” Ms Kendall said.
“This is another key aspect in marketing our products and continuing to launch innovative products within this space. Our new Yale Unity Security Screen Door Lock – launched in 2022 – is an innovative product that addressed the issue of not having a smart lock option for people’s security screen door locks. Within Australia, the security screen door lock is the primary entrance door to the home and having a mechanical lock option, and then a smart lock on the main entry really defeated the purpose.”
“When the Unity Security Screen Door Lock and the Unity Entrance Lock are paired with the Yale Connect Plus Wi-Fi bridge, DualDoor™ Technology is unlocked – enabling homeowners to unlock their screen door and then the entrance lock will automatically unlock as well. This provides seamless access to the home,” she said.
When it comes to low-cost smart lock solutions, cheap smart locks often pose a security risk to consumers because privacy concerns can be vaguely defined, especially when it comes to locks that are just directly imported.
To combat competition of cheaper, imported products, Ms Kendall says ASSA ABLOY ensures that staff and consumers maintain a high level of knowledge on all of its products.
“When consumers visit a store, it is so important that the staff are well educated on new smart products and can provide a wealth of knowledge to the consumer. When their customers are provided with a knowledgeable in-store experience, they become more confident with their purchase. This is why we offer product training for our retailers,” Ms Kendall said.
For now, Ms Kendall believes there is no doubt that home security will continue to grow exponentially over the next few years.
Mitre 10 stores see sales lift on-line
As smart home sales remain strong throughout larger hardware independents particularly, the majority of stores have noticed a sales lift within the online space, as customers conduct research online and then purchase online also.
Craig Allan from Womersley’s Mitre 10 in Chelsea Heights, Victoria says the majority of his store’s smart home products are sourced by customers primarily through the Click ‘n Collect facility.
“We have found that the majority of customers would prefer to conduct their product research online rather than come into the store and ask our staff questions on which products best suit their needs. Now that customers are conducting much of their research online, they are often well-armed with information and they can then opt to purchase a product via Click ‘n Collect.”
“Once customers order their smart home product, we source it from our distribution centre and it takes two to nine business days to come in. Just some of our most popular products currently include the Eufy home camera systems, which come with either two or four cameras, while our video doorbells have become quite popular as well,” Mr Allan said.
Department Manager Andrew McKenna from Fagg’s Mitre 10 in Geelong, Melbourne agrees that online sales are on the rise.
“At the moment we only have Eufy camera home-based kits, security cameras in-store and a selection of our smart home products. In saying this, we do have plans to expand our selection again through a new setup. A lot of our customers continue to ask us about the digital door locks as well with several being bought throughout the Christmas period as customers continue to upgrade their security, which is great for us,” Mr McKenna said.
Retailers expect that smart home devices will see yet another boost in popularity when the issue of not having the ability to connect to different brands is overcome once Matter sees the integration of Alexa, Apple Home, Google Home and Samsung devices.
With a basic offer already released in the US, Matter is expected to offer advanced cross-party compatibility across many leading brands and will no doubt boost sales once again as all devices are easily integrated throughout the home.