Aug 17, 2020

Tom Ryan

A new study from ABI Research predicts that the pandemic will significantly slow consumer smart home purchases in 2020 and accelerate growth in the years ahead.

“The pandemic is a double-edged sword for the smart home industry,” said Jonathan Collins, smart home research director at ABI Research, in a statement. “While the immediate impact may be negative, many of the long-term and structural changes to consumer lives initiated in 2020 will have a lasting positive impact that will help to drive adoption.”

The firm now expects smart home revenues to be up four percent over 2019, down from growth of 21 percent projected pre-pandemic. The culprits include economic uncertainty, installation and physical retail restrictions, and manufacturing disruptions.

By 2026, however, ABI Research predicts the smart home market will be up five percent over pre-COVID-19 forecasts to $317 billion as smart home technology cements its value. As an example, Mr. Collins points to how Amazon’s Alexa platform can support a household’s entire shopping process, from list creation to delivery management.

Z-Wave Alliance’s “State of the Ecosystem Report” anticipates that smart doorbells and water sensors, partly due to incentives from home insurance carriers, will see the fastest growth among categories through 2025.

Increasing demand for smartphone enabled home entertainment devices are expected in coming years due, in part, to lockdowns. Mitchell Klein, executive director, Z-Wave, said in an interview with Hiddenwires, “With more people spending time at home streaming content, working, and learning, there is a renewed focus on using smart home technology to keep people connected inside the home and from a distance.”

In Z-Wave’s report, Jennifer Pattison Tuohy, an editor at Dwell Magazine, cited complexity, interoperability and longevity as the largest hurdles to mass consumer adoption of the smart home.

She said, “Complexity because consumers don’t want to spend their weekends installing/troubleshooting their homes. Interoperability because consumers don’t want to buy something unless they know it will work with everything they have in their home now (and might want in the future). And longevity because consumers are scared by the all too common reports of the death of smart home devices.”

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS: Will COVID-19 speed up or slow the adoption of smart home technology by consumers? Have the hurdles preventing adoption changed?


“I’m still waiting for one company to take the lead on smart home deployment. “