What smart home trends will emerge in 2021?
Last month’s CES virtual show, which was hosted by the Consumer Technology Association (CTA), saw the debut of a plethora of innovative smart home technologies and discussions about the direction the industry is moving towards in 2021.
Steve Koenig, VP, Research at CTA and Lesley Rohrback, Director, Research, CTA assessed the trends that will shake up the smart homes industry for 2021 and beyond.
Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, digital health has taken off in the smart tech space.
“The health crisis and the resulting economic downturn brought no shortages of challenges for consumers for businesses for governments alike,” Koenig said in his speech. “As a global community, we confronted a lot of those challenges together, and we witnessed how technology innovation really rushed in to provide a myriad of solutions really across the economy. And I would even go further to say saved a lot of lives, and is continuing to save lives.”
According to Rohrback, digital health is quickly expanding to fulfill demands and needs within everyday lifestyles, fostering relationships between individuals and healthcare providers, as well as providing new unique tools within the health system itself.
“The global pandemic has accelerated technology innovation and many pre-existing trends, such as the desire for consumers to take hold of our own day to day health, whether it be tracking our daily activity using a smartwatch and fitness band or managing our food or water intake using an app on our phone,” Rohrback says. “There’s a multitude of ways we can now reliably depend on technologies to do this for us. And when it comes to patient care, the number of resources has skyrocketed over the past couple years, even prior to the pandemic and they just keep growing. We’re seeing new services such as telehealth evolve, where we can have digital check ins about not only our physical but our mental health as well.”
Additionally, technology is enhancing care of formal settings, such as the use of robots and hospitals or drones carrying medical supplies.
Robotics is another area with mass innovation impacting a variety of sectors globally.”All around the world we’re seeing innovation take place within robotics and many of these companies have been around for a while but adoption has been a bit slower due to cost or other business model impacts,” Rohrback observes.
While wearbales have been in the market for years, they are no longer limited to just the wrist, as there are now more options available.
“The Oura Ring, for example, not only tracks your activity, but it measures your body temperature, respiratory rate and also provides you with daily scores related to how well you slept and more,” Rohrback relates. “The company also partnered with the NBA last summer, to help monitor player’s health in order to prevent the spread of COVID-19 among the league.”
The Bio Button by BioIntelliSense, which was named a CES 2021 Innovation Award honoree, was also noted for how it measures body temperature, respiratory rate and also provides daily scores related to how well a person has slept.
Finally, transportation will see a number of transformative changes in the smart tech space, according to Koenig. “When we look at the space of transportation in the broader mobility sector, we’re confronted with a somewhat humorous dichotomy because on the one hand, there’s not a lot going on we’re not travelling around certainly as much as we used to,” Koenig says. “The electric truck market is a huge swing factor in the success of the electric electric vehicle market in the United States, and and that just opens up so many different interesting opportunities.”
Other smart home trends and predictions for 2021 include:
Smartphones: Shipments will increase 4% to 161million units, earning $73billion in revenue (up 5% over last year), following a year of slight declines. Over 67million 5G smartphones are expected to ship in 2021 (298% growth over last yearfor the nascent category) and generate $39 billion in revenue (a 218% jump), as consumer awareness of 5G grows and service is available in more locations across the country.
Laptops: 2020 was a record year for laptops (enterprise and consumer), with more families than ever working and learning from home. CTA expects laptop shipments will remain strong in 2021, reaching69million units(up 1% over last year) and earning $38 billion in revenue (down 2%).
Wireless Audio: For the first time ever in 2020,total wireless headphone and earbud shipments surpassed wired headphones and earbuds. True wireless earbuds, including Apple AirPods and Samsung Galaxy Buds, are driving growth, with 91 million units expected to ship in 2021 (up 32%),representing $9.3 billion in revenue (up 16%).
DIY Smart Home Products: With millions of Americans spending more time at home, safety and convenience upgradesare top of mind, driving DIY smart home products shipments to 99 million units in 2021(up 9%), and $15 billion (up 3%). Category growth drivers include smart displays, smart doorbells and smart appliances.