Q1 Largely Follows Trend Towards Greater Penetration of Smart Tech Products

May 24, 2018

This article is included in these additional categories:

Digital | Industries | Non-mobile Connected Devices | Technology

Smart products are taking share from conventional products in the TV, speaker, and watch categories, reports Adobe Digital Insights in its Digital Dollar Report for Q1 2018. In fact, smart TVs represented almost 9 in 10 TVs sold in the US during the first quarter of the year, per the study.

While smart TV owners are typically younger and better-educated than the average American, the increasing maturity of this product suggests that those demographic variances may smooth out over time.

Adobe notes in its analysis that TV sales are trending towards larger screens: fully 51% of TV sold during the first quarter were 46-85 inches in screen size, as opposed 49% that were 6-45 inches in size. That compares with the year-earlier period, when the larger screen sizes were a minority (47%) of TV sales.

This also has an impact on 4K TV technology, as 3 in 4 TVs sold with screens larger than 45 inches had 4K resolution, compared to half of TVs with a smaller screen size.

Earlier this year the Consumer Technology Association (CTA) forecast a 22% increase in 4K ultra-HD TV sales in the US this year.

Smartwatches Account for More Than 1 in 5 Watches Sold

Wearables have the slowest forecast unit growth rate this year of any emerging technology, but it seems that smartwatches might be bucking that broader trend.

During the first quarter more than 1 in every 5 watches sold (22%) was equipped with smart technology, according to Adobe’s report. That 22% share continues to rise, from 18% in 2017, 13% in 2015, and 9% in 2014. The analysts note that smartwatches are becoming cheaper, and that while Apple and Fitbit still dominate, conventional watch brands are entering the fray.

Smartwatches’ 22% share of watch sales may dip in the next quarter, though. That’s because last year there were twice as many smartwatches sold in the first quarter than in the second quarter. This is due to smartwatch sales correlating with New Year’s resolutions, per the study: “retailers see an influx in sales of smartwatches in January every year as consumers invest more in their health and savvy marketers can take advantage.”

Almost 6 in 10 Speakers Sold Have Smart Technology

Smart Speaker penetration continues to climb, at last count reaching 1 in 5 US Wi-Fi households. However it does seem that smart speakers’ share of the speaker market is flattening out.

In this past quarter, smart speakers accounted for a hefty 58% share of home speakers sold. But that only marks a small increase from last year, when 57% of speakers sold were equipped with smart technology.

It’s possible that the 58% share from Q1 will rise – unlike with smartwatches – as the year progresses. That’s because the holiday period proved to be particularly kind to smart speakers, which were among the top devices purchased on Amazon.

Smart Fridges, Light Bulbs? Not So Much

While smart speakers are enjoying strong appeal with consumers, the same can’t be said for all smart home products. As Adobe’s analysts remind, “there are many cases in which it is sensible to take a conventional home product and advance it to ‘smart’ status, but not all products need to be smart-enabled, as consumer shopping data shows.”

During the first quarter of the year just 11% of lightbulb units sold in the US were smart lightbulbs. That’s actually down a point from 2017 as a whole (12%), and matches the 2016 share (11%).

Likewise, smart fridges make up only about 1 in 8 fridges sold, and that figure has been on only a very modest increase in the past few years.

For more details, see Adobe’s analysis here.

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