Tuesday, 07 April 2020 09:06

Consumer IoT vendors seen growing 10% in 2020 despite pandemic

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Consumer IoT vendors seen growing 10% in 2020 despite pandemic Pixabay

Wearable bands, smart personal audio devices and smart speakers will show growth of 9.8% to 718 million units in 2020, the technology research firm Canalys has predicted, adding that this would be due to consumer IoT vendors looking for growth in markets that have been hit hard by the coronavirus pandemic.

The company classifies these three categories as extensions to IoT systems, made by smartphone and platform sellers like Apple, Google, Amazon, Samsung, Xiaomi and Huawei.

Given the big increase in working from home, consumer IoT vendors were looking to capitalise on users' need to work and learn remotely, stay in touch with friends and exercise and entertain themselves.

"Hearable vendors [who are] still shipping devices via online channels have quickly shifted their marketing messages to highlight key benefits, particularly their conference-calling abilities, said Canalys research analyst Cynthia Chen.

"Consumers are looking for wireless audio devices that offer flexibility for work, education and play. Canalys predicts that smart personal audio device shipments will increase by 15.5% in 2020 to become the fastest-growing consumer IoT segment this year."

canalys iot2

Chen added that more time spent sitting around meant there was also an opportunity for wearable band vendors to increase engagement with users by promoting access to premium workouts and the accompanying devices that help them stay active.

Canalys said it expected wearable band shipments to increase by 3.8% in 2020.

Even though there is no end in sight to the spread of COVID-19, Canalys said it was cautiously optimistic that the disease would be under control by the third quarter.

"China will be a key growth driver in 2020 as the country is confident that the pandemic is well under control," said Canalys senior analyst Jason Low.

"Based on our first-hand experience in China, the government's strict regulatory measures have contained the spread of COVID-19.

canalys iot

"With safety measures in place to prevent its re-emergence, economic activities will resume quickly and consumers will start to spend again. The same is likely to happen in other countries when countermeasures kick in."

Low said the biggest challenge faced by vendors was the economic uncertainty.

"From supply disruptions to demand shock, many companies are well informed about the significant challenges they are facing right now. Vendors must take additional actions to mitigate the impact," he said.

"Wait and see is no longer an option. The pandemic will be the critical moment that splits future market leaders from laggards, depending on the actions companies take now.

"In addition to more proactive and targeted marketing to stay connected with consumers, it is good time to form new partnerships, for example with new online service and content providers, to grow user bases for both parties with additional services targeting stay-at-home consumers."


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Sam Varghese

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Sam Varghese has been writing for iTWire since 2006, a year after the site came into existence. For nearly a decade thereafter, he wrote mostly about free and open source software, based on his own use of this genre of software. Since May 2016, he has been writing across many areas of technology. He has been a journalist for nearly 40 years in India (Indian Express and Deccan Herald), the UAE (Khaleej Times) and Australia (Daily Commercial News (now defunct) and The Age). His personal blog is titled Irregular Expression.

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