i3 - January/February 2018 - 104

Business

By Steve Smith

Smart Homes Provide
Retail Opportunities

 S 

mart home technology is one of the hottest technology
categories at retail with consumers, according to Berg
Insight, in a recent report that found the number of
smart homes in the U.S. is expected to reach 73 million in 2021,
representing 55 percent of homes. CTA's 24th Annual Consumer
Technology Holiday Purchase Patterns Study said 33 percent
of Americans planned to buy a smart home device, up nine
percent from the prior year. Digital assistant devices, home
cameras and smart thermostats led the way.

In CTA's U.S. Consumer Technology
Sales and Forecast, the same smart
home products mentioned above, plus
carbon monoxide detectors, smart locks
and doorbells, smart switches, dimmers
and outlets, and IP/Wi-Fi cameras, were
predicted to hit $3.3 billion last year -
a whopping 48 percent increase.
While great news for retailers, the
challenge is that smart home technology
is unlike any other CT category ever introduced. It isn't one product like CD, DVD,
HDTV or 4K UHD TV. Smart home
technology includes a swath of products,
formats, smart TVs and smart appliances,
which opens the market to an array of
retailers and suppliers.
104

JANUARY/FEBRUARY 2018

There also are competing and incompatible formats, systems and hardware
in smart home technology. Some
are do-it-yourself products with limited
features compared with full-fledged
custom installed systems and everything
in between. This can be a stumbling
block but also an opportunity for
astute retailers and custom installers
to explain, sell and service.

Embracing the Connected Home

The Nationwide Marketing Group,
the $18.5 billion marketing and
merchandising retail group representing
more than 5,300 independent appliance, electronics and furniture dealers

operating some 14,000 storefronts,
partnered with Nest and Google in
2017 in an exclusive program.
Doug Wrede, consumer electronics
director of Nationwide, said "The connected home is already growing in
double-digits, year-over-year, in revenue."
During its PrimeTime convention
last summer, Nationwide built a "connected home room" explaining to its
retail members how to demonstrate
Nest-compatible outdoor cameras, lighting systems, Wi-Fi hub, thermostats
and security systems to homeowners.
Because most of Nationwide's retail
sales are in major appliances, these suppliers are "embracing connected home
in its early stages," Wrede said. That
should give electronics/appliance dealers a step-up since smart home technology "will be integrated in more and
more of these appliances."
ProSource is the national buying
group of more than 500 specialty electronics retailers and custom integrators
with sales of more than $4.5 billion.
Dave Workman, CEO and president of
ProSource says the group's traditional
expertise with installing and explaining
new technologies to consumers -
whether they are specialty retailers or
custom integrators (CI) - makes smart
home an area that it can capitalize on.
"For the average consumer it is one
thing to change a thermostat with
a do-it-yourself [product]." But with all
of the products that encompass smart
home technology, their customers want
more than one smart home device.
"We cater to the CI market and want to
provide solutions. Fellow members in
its affiliated BrandSource group, which
consists of traditional electronics/appliance dealers can "partner with us."
Richard Glikes, who heads Azione
Unlimited, a group of CI businesses,
said that while many traditional retailers
will capitalize on smart home technology,
he believes installers and retailers
should not become complacent since,
"Amazon, Google and Apple will flex
their muscles and that will be the next
thing we have to adapt to."
I T I S I N N O VAT I O N

Chesky_W/Getty Images

R E TA I L ST R AT EG I E S


http://www.cta.tech/research http://www.cta.tech/research

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