Internet-connected “smart” appliances are gaining steam across the white-goods category in Asia. In fact, one out of four major home appliances shipped in Asia in 2018 included web-connectivity features. A strong increase in major home-appliance production in Asia, along with high-speed innovation processes and more competitive price strategies, are key reasons the smart home-appliances market is growing in the region.
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Remotely controlling and managing appliances via a smartphone app is the main benefit offered by connected appliances. However, this added functionality is not always viewed as a benefit by appliance owners, especially when it comes to smart refrigerators, washing machines, clothes dryers, and dishwashers. The mobile apps for these devices have so far offered only limited features, like appliance status updates and the ability to cycle power on and off remotely. Despite this shortcoming, appliance makers are moving fast to implement features that will inspire and promote brand loyalty.
While these major home appliances face steep challenges in delivering connected products that add value for consumers, room air conditioners are the exception. Unlike refrigerators and washing machines, the smart functions of room air conditioners are linked to convenience, comfort and – a key sales motivator in Asia – health. Smart air conditioners now offer air-quality sensors, air purifiers, dehumidifier functions and automatic air-filter cleaning, all with the goal of improving air quality and, by extension, the user’s health.
Connected ranges are expected to grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 107.5 percent between 2018 and 2023. An important sales motivator for smart ranges is peace of mind: using the device’s remote management features, consumers can immediately see the status of their ranges and respond accordingly from afar.
Looking to the future, appliance manufacturers need to make sure the new smart functions they offer consumers actually result in a better user experience. That way, these features can be used to persuade consumers to buy smart appliances and actually connect them to the Internet, after they bring them home.
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