Perspectives, Trends & News

Technology taking over white goods - are we being smart or lazy?

on Wed Apr 04 2022
  • Trends

One of the biggest societal shifts we’ve seen in recent years is the mass adoption of technology in our lives. From the ubiquitous smartphone to virtual assistant technology, we’re growing ever reliant on technology to go about our day to day lives. It has even begun to bleed into our white goods, such as fridges that tell us when we’re running low on milk. Is all of this necessary, though? Are we being smart with all of this technology, or just plain lazy?

In this article, we’re going to take a look at how technology is taking over white goods and disrupting the market to change consumer behaviour. We’ll also discuss what companies are doing to stay competitive in this emerging industry and how traditional marketing strategies such as gift cards can help attract new business.

The growing industry of smart technology

The connected home market is growing at a blistering pace thanks to a number of innovations that make the internet of things more accessible to consumers. Research from Telsyte’s Australian IoT@Home Market Study 2021 found that over 6 million Australian homes now have at least one smart home device that is used regularly. The most common products included smart security lighting, smart speakers and installation services.

This rapid adoption of new technology is partly the result of innovation, but also the fact that more people are spending a significant portion of their time at home. These products make simple tasks much easier, and in some cases, fully automate things like ordering products when supplies are low.

Consumers are most keen to adapt living rooms and kitchens with smart technology, including smart white goods such as connected fridges. With that said, there is a greater push for the home office due to the rise of working from home. As a result, more consumers are looking to create home office spaces that are connected to smart devices like virtual assistants.

Are people actually buying smart white goods for the look or functionality?

The global lockdowns of the past few years have played a significant role in changing consumer behaviour, as they've encouraged more people to make the most of their time indoors. For example, one of the biggest trends during this period has been the rise of hygiene appliances such as oil diffusers. As lockdowns progressed, consumers transitioned towards cooking at home, so the rise of smart white goods began to take hold.

By 2021, consumers were keen to try out all kinds of new smart cooking appliances, from remote-controlled sous-vide machines to voice-controlled microwave ovens. According to research from Euromonitor International, high growth sectors in this industry transitioned from larger white goods to smaller appliances, specifically relating to food preparation and hygiene.

It’s clear that consumers have adopted smart white goods, and it’s all a matter of convenience. Smart homes and smart technology are used to make our day-to-day lives a little easier, more efficient or cost-effective. The latest trend in voice control removes the need for buttons and a physical interface, which is perfect for the kitchen. You don’t need to interact with a display if you’ve got messy hands from cooking. Technology makes our lives easier, and smart technology is a hallmark example of this.

How are businesses staying competitive in this industry?

According to research from IBM, around 71% of global CEOs believe that technology is the most prominent external factor that can impact their business over the next three to five years. It’s clear that to stay competitive these days, technology is the major driving force. That means companies are expected to deliver innovative technology, otherwise the competition will get there before you.

When it comes to smart white goods and home appliances, there’s a considerable investment that companies need to make in order to provide innovation. Engineers are required to develop software, hardware and electrical components for companies that are looking to enter the smart goods market. This isn’t easy or cheap for the business, but it’s becoming more essential to stay competitive.

Modern manufacturers in this industry understand that a single defining feature or function won’t be enough to convince consumers. They need to consider the consumer experience and how these new features might benefit them. It’s a blend of understanding customer pain points and finding ways to use technology in a way that alleviates those pain points.

Another defining feature of a competitive company in this industry is the use of big data. Harnessing the power of big data allows companies to better understand consumer habits and preferences. This also takes significant investment though, because gleaning insights from large data sets is a highly specialised field.

How traditional tactics can still attract customers

Although technology has essentially reshaped much of this industry, there are still traditional marketing methods and tactics that hold true. The use of promotions and gift cards, for example, can still draw in customers in this technologically advanced industry. This can be coupled with insights from big data to better understand how to roll out these marketing strategies.

For example, research from Mckinsey & Company found that 48% of expecting mothers change their buying habits when pregnant. Of those, around 50% move towards products that are targeted towards a healthier lifestyle. So, by adapting their marketing message to address this shift in consumer behaviour, companies can capitalise on a new target market.

Using the example above, a company could offer a gift card or promotion for a smart fridge that automatically generates a shopping list of healthy items. This encourages a healthier diet for the owner and convinces them to make a purchase. Using a targeted form of marketing here is only possible with the use of big data to glean these types of insights. However, it can make the use of promotions and gift cards much more effective. Moreover, it goes beyond offering a useful product - it’s about establishing brand loyalty and creating a truly convenient experience for the consumer.

If you’re interested in learning more about how to effectively use promotions and gift cards for your white goods or technology business, contact our team at iGo today.