One in four Germans has at least one smart home application installed in their homes, according to a survey. Above all, intelligent lighting systems (17 percent), video surveillance (14 percent) and language assistants (13 percent) were widespread, according to IT association Bitkom, which commissioned the representative study.
Seventy percent of respondents have already heard of the term smart home, and another 70 percent of them can explain what it means.
Smart home is the networking of household appliances or household appliances, for example for more efficient use of energy or increased comfort. Critics warn against security gaps.
“Smart home applications are conquering the mass market”
Thirty-seven percent of respondents plan to purchase a smart home device within the next twelve months, with internet-controlled heating thermostats (29 percent) particularly in demand. Smart vacuum cleaners (15 percent) and garden tools (12 percent) are still ahead of language assistants (10 percent).
“Smart home applications are conquering the mass market,” said Bitkom President Achim Berg on Tuesday. “In the future they will be as natural in German households as electricity, light and running water.” However, it is important to ensure maximum safety.
Those who have not yet purchased smart home applications fear a costly installation (37 percent), a high price (36 percent) or a complicated operation (33 percent).
But also safety concerns keep the consumer: For example, one in four fears hacker attacks (26 percent), is afraid for his privacy (24 percent) or against the misuse of personal data (22 percent).
Every third person has ever bought a piece of furniture on the Internet
The respondents who have already bought smart home applications, however, show fewer concerns – and have probably bought the devices then online:
Because every third person has ever bought a piece of furniture on the Internet. This resulted in a study by the polling institute TNS on behalf of the commercial giant Otto. According to this, every second German faces the purchase of furniture in the net.
“The furniture trade is much further on the subject of e-commerce, as most people are aware of. The online share of sales is already ten percent – and it’s not about accessories, but real furniture, “emphasizes the trade expert Gerrit Heinemann of the University of Niederrhein.
The internet can score points with furniture buyers not least because the search for the best price is much easier there than in the classic furniture shops. And it’s about a lot of money.
According to the recently published by the consulting firm KPMG and the Cologne Institute for Trade Research (IFH) study “Built on the future” spend the Germans annually more than 40 billion euros for the design of their own four walls.
But even as a source of inspiration, the furniture palaces – whether operated by Ikea or its rivals XXXLutz or Höffner – are losing their importance, especially among young people. While 59 percent of consumers aged 50 to 59 are still inspired by a furniture store, among those under 30, only 46 percent are left, as the study “Wohnen und Leben 2018” recently revealed.
Instead, the homes of friends, online blogs or travel experiences serve as a source of inspiration.
The pioneer in the online trade in furniture in Germany is the mail order company Otto. “His market share is probably around 50 percent – with an upward trend,” reports Heinemann. But Amazon has also made it to the top 10 German furniture retailers according to a ranking of the magazine “furniture culture”.
Established furniture trade must adapt business model
This is a challenge for the established furniture trade. Even though many retailers have their own online shops, their business model does not necessarily fit into the new age.
“With traditional furniture dealers, customers today often have to wait three to four months for delivery. This is not possible in online trading. That’s where the furniture trade slows down, “Heinemann describes the problem.
No retailer can afford to forego the new distribution channel. For the business with sofas, cabinets, tables and Co. are currently running rather poorly, demand is stagnating. The furniture needs in this country are obviously covered after four years of strong growth for the time being, says the IFH furniture expert Uwe Krüger.
Only the Internet trade seems immune to the purchase restraint. According to information from the eCommerce industry association bevh 2017, German citizens spent more than 20 percent more on furnishings online than in the previous year.
Ikea wants to accelerate the online business
No wonder that practically all major furniture retailers now have online appearances. The undisputed market leader in the German furniture trade, Ikea, which according to experts operated the online business for a long time “with the handbrake on”, now wants to give it a go on the internet.
The share of sales of Internet commerce at Ikea could rise within a few years from currently six to 26 to 30 percent, predicts Germany boss Balslev. In addition the enterprise wants to accelerate not least the delivery service. The goal is a “delivery on the same day or the following day,” says Ikea.
But not only at Ikea something is happening. Internet furniture retailer Home24 has raised money for additional room for growth with its IPO. And several other online retailers like Westwing or Wayfair are fighting for a piece of the pie.
“The online trade in furniture will continue to gain massive importance,” says retailer Heinemann convinced. Once it succeeds in abolishing the long delivery times, “the online share in the furniture trade will someday be just as high as it is in clothing today,” the expert believes.