NPD have projected that sales of voice-activated smart speakers will grow by 50% by 2019, adding a huge $1.6 billion to the US tech industry.
This will come as no surprise to people acquainted with the smart home sector, as we see more and more households begin to adopt home automation, with many of them starting out with a voice-activated speaker like the Amazon Echo or Google Home.
19% of consumers are apparently planning to buy a smart home device within the next year and smart speakers are likely to be top of the list. As they act as both a hub to control other devices, as well as a smart assistant, consumers often see them as the first port of call when upgrading their homes.
NPD’s numbers forecast a 50% dollar growth for the smart speaker market from 2016-17 to 2018-19, adding a total $1.6 billion to the industry.
Smart speakers aren’t the only winners here, however: as Techcrunch reports, sales of these products inevitably drive sales of other smart home devices as consumers learn and become more confident with home automation.
Steven Baker, VP of The NPD Group, recommends that retailers encourage individual device purchases before recommending that consumers invest in services like mesh routers to best maximize their home network’s potential.
“While many new households will explore the smart home experience in the next two years, propelled by the growing ownership of voice-activated speakers, the biggest and best opportunity for retail may remain in encouraging the installed smart home base to make incremental device purchases, and to then provide services to help consumers fully leverage the technology in their smart home,” he said.
“For example, upgrades in networking equipment are a crucial incremental sales opportunity. As the number of connected devices on the home network increase, consumers will come to the realization that they need better equipment to support those devices.”
This is crucial: home automation, alongside smartphone, laptop and gaming usage, will soon overwhelm most common home Wifi networks. But there’s little point in pushing sophisticated mesh networks (which provide more efficient and wider coverage) on consumers if they don’t yet require it.
Let them come to you.