The digital consumer concept continues to evolve as new products, services, and solutions make their way to the home. At present, the notion of a digital consumer largely revolves around individuals that leverage the Internet for productivity, entertainment, and communication. Going forward, however, consumers are expected to leverage the power of the Internet of Things (IoT) to interact with a much larger ecosystem that includes external entities such as smart parking facilities, smart health, and smart cities.
A plethora of new business models continues to emerge in the digital consumer segment, though many are yet to attain a critical mass of customers and sustained underlying profitability. In addition, the intensifying competitive environment is forcing solution providers to deliver differentiated value propositions at compelling price points to both current and prospective customers.
Greater product and market diversification by existing providers as well as new market entrants—which are threatening to redefine various consumer segments—are also creating a rather fragmented competitive environment across various consumer segments. In addition, growth in the adoption and usage of digital devices and applications, including smartphones, content streaming, and social media, further adds to time poverty and declining attention span in consumers. This in turn creates significant customer engagement and communication challenges for marketers. Lastly, the onslaught of innovative technologies such as smart thermostats and smart door locks being adopted by the modern consumer, either on a piecemeal basis or as a solution, is creating compatibility, standards, and integration issues for vendors, prompting them to make additional investments in research and development (R&D) functions to ensure a seamless user experience (UX).
While increasing digital transformation among consumers has created challenges for providers, new growth opportunities are emerging on the horizon. For instance, rising time poverty creates demand for innovative products such as digital assistants (e.g., Amazon Echo, Google Home, Apple HomePod) that perform various functions through voice commands, helping to simplify consumer lifestyle. Similarly, increasing awareness and understanding of the environmental impact of human consumption is helping to fuel demand for products and services, such as smart home irrigation systems, that enable greater conservation of natural resources while also adding convenience to the household and reducing costs.
Within the home entertainment segment, over-the-top (OTT) video providers are increasingly differentiating their services by developing original/unique content rather than merely expanding their library of third-party syndicated content. In addition, OTT providers are developing artificial intelligence (AI)-based user interface tools to further enhance their value proposition. To counter the growing threat of OTT services to their core video business, traditional cable and satellite TV providers have launched their own content offerings, which include live TV streaming. Similarly, consumer product manufacturers, be they home appliance vendors or fitness device makers, are seeking ways to harness the power of Internet of Things (IoT) to deliver exceptional value while also expanding company revenue base and profitability.
This study offers a conceptual framework of the overall digital consumer market and highlights areas of opportunity for a variety of market participants. While the digital consumer market is rather expansive and one that continues to evolve, this study closely examines the digital home automation market and the solutions involved. Home automation involves connecting various devices together so that they can be monitored and controlled through a centralized application. This study focuses on home automation pertaining to core home infrastructure.