IKEA Sends Message with Smart Home Investment
The writing has been on the wall for some time, in a sense. But IKEA only recently decided to make official what’s been something of a foregone conclusion—they’re going all in on the smart home. IKEA Home smart was first launched in 2012 as sort of internal start up program that had the goal of bringing together the technology and design worlds to produce unique products and solutions. In the time since, IKEA Home smart has successfully brought to market a number of different smart home devices—including the launch of a new partnership and smart speaker/furniture range with Sonos.
Because of all of that success, IKEA felt it was time to turn the program into its own business unit. IKEA Home smart will, going forward, be responsible for the retailer’s smart home business end to end.
“At IKEA we want to continue to offer products for a better life at home for the many people going forward,” Björn Block, Head of the new IKEA Home smart Business Unit at IKEA of Sweden, said in a statement. “In order to do so we need to explore products and solutions beyond conventional home furnishing.”
Among the products that IKEA Home smart has been able to introduce are a line of wireless-charging-enabled tables and lamps, smart lighting solutions, and the aforementioned Sonos SYMFONISK line of speakers.
With an estimated 780 million shoppers who visit IKEA stores each year, not only is the decision a simple one for the retailer as it looks to capitalize on the excitement around this booming category, but it’s also a shot across the bow to companies like Google and Amazon that have been working to develop (and sell) their own smart home ecosystems.
According to IDC, more than 832 million smart home devices will ship in 2019, nearly 27 percent growth year over year. Things aren’t expected to slow down any time soon either, with IDC estimating compound annual growth of 16.9 percent through 2023, reaching 1.6 billion devices shipped. While Google and Amazon, and Apple to an extent, will continue to be the major platforms for voice control and how consumers interact with their devices, it’s the previously unknowns—or unexpecteds—like IKEA who have a real opportunity to capitalize financially with their smart home and voice-controllable products.
With their expertise in the home furnishings market, IKEA could be a great name to bet on as the smart home industry continues expanding.
“By working together with all other departments within IKEA, the business unit of IKEA Home smart will drive the digital transformation of the IKEA range, improving and transforming existing businesses and developing new businesses to bring more diverse smart products to the many people,” Block said. “We are just getting started.”