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Smart home devices take off across M-E, Africa

Houses across the Middle East and Africa region are getting smarter as 7.3 million smart home devices were shipped to the region in Q1 2022, according to the IDC

The Middle East, Turkey, and Africa (META) smart home devices market continues to register significant gains on the back of increasing awareness and improving end-user experiences, according to the latest insights from International Data Corporation (IDC). The global technology research and consulting firm’s newly updated Worldwide Quarterly Smart Home Devices Tracker shows that 7.3 million smart home devices were shipped across the META region in Q1 2022, up 21.7% year on year.

IDC defines smart home devices as network endpoints primarily designed for home use that communicate bidirectionally and autonomously to various network protocols. Autonomous connectivity is a key attribute of these devices. Devices function with or without necessarily receiving a discrete command from a user. Bidirectional connectivity is also a critical component of the definition. In the case of network connectivity, devices using Internet Protocols (IP) or other networking protocols (IP-adjacent) like Bluetooth, ZigBee, Z-Wave, Thread, etc. are also included.

IDC believes that better user experiences, increasing awareness around the benefits of smart home devices, and the improving availability of reliable internet connections are the key factors that have led vendors to increase their shipments to the region. At the same time, there has also been a move beyond market trials featuring one or two products, with vendors now shipping a much wider variety of devices to the region.

“We have seen concerted campaigns aimed at raising end-user awareness of smart homes devices across the region,” says Isaac T. Ngatia, a senior research analyst at IDC. “Vendors and key stakeholders such as telecom operators have increased their spending on these devices, and many telcos now offer smart solutions as part of their home subscription services.  This has encouraged more vendors to provide a wider range of products with the aim of providing a wholesome experience in different parts of the house.”

The market is home to a wide array of vendors, although some of these specialize only in one category. The key players in the region’s smart home devices space include LG Electronics, Samsung, Sony, Xiaomi, Hisense, Google, and Amazon. Emerging players include brands such as EUFY, Apple, TP-Link, TCL, and Ezviz.

IDC tracks different categories of smart home devices, including smart appliances, smart home monitoring/security devices, smart lighting, smart speaker, smart thermostat, and smart video entertainment. This latter category — largely made up of smart TVs and digital media adapters used for streaming services — continues to be the market’s primary driver. This trend is expected to continue as demand for streaming services continues to grow in the region, while major events such as the upcoming FIFA World Cup 2022 could lead to a further push of devices.

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