Ten per cent of UK households now own a home assistant – more than the number of households with a pet rabbit (two per cent) or hamster (one per cent) – with sales of smart home products soaring by 161 per cent over the past year, according to leading technology and electricals retailer Argos.
Argos’s first ever ‘Year in Tech’ revealed the rise, which today unveils the tech trends that have swept the nation over the past twelve months. The retailer analysed a year’s worth of sales data to uncover the trends that have influenced UK shoppers’ buying behaviour.
The biggest rise in smart home gadget sales has been in smart speakers (up 151 per cent year-on-year) as customers are increasingly adopting voice technology at home to make everyday tasks easier.
From setting alarms, managing calendars and streaming music to listening to cooking instructions or controlling the lights, more Brits are embracing the convenience offered by voice technology, which allows them to operate hands-free, often while performing another task.
On Black Friday, Argos sold 11 smart speakers a minute and now one in 10 households has a home assistant, a significant increase that shows the changing face of the modern home.
With Brits becoming more accustomed to voice technology in the home, Argos recently launched a new app for Google Assistant, which allows customers to reserve items for same-day collection using just their voice and a quick confirmation on their phone or Google Home device.
Argos has also seen sales of radios fall by 18 per cent year-on-year which Argos experts attribute to more people listening to the radio on their smart speakers.
Sales of smart home monitoring and security products have soared by 200 per cent year-on-year. October is the month that drives the biggest uplift in sales of smart home security tech (30 per cent year-on-year) with families preparing for winter as the clocks go back and the nights draw in.
Smart lighting systems sales have jumped by 77 per cent and smart heating products are also up 60 per cent as customers embrace the ability to control their lights and heating systems remotely.
The data has also revealed that smart home products are one of just two tech product sectors where men buy more than women. Women buy the most tech overall at Argos (53 per cent vs. 47 per cent of men) except when it comes to smart home tech (41 per cent women vs. 59 per cent men) and drones (45 per cent women vs. 55 per cent for men).
Chirag Shah, Head of Buying for Smart Technology at Argos, said: “It’s wonderful to see our customers embrace smart tech in their homes to make them safer and more efficient. Customers are increasingly looking to these gadgets to help them with everything from securing the house to following a recipe in the kitchen. The growing sophistication of voice technology in particular is really exciting and home assistants are clearly becoming part of the family in households nationwide.
“We predict smart tech will become more and more prevalent over the coming year, giving us more control over how we manage our home lives so we have more time to focus on the things we enjoy the most”.
A Year in Tech
‘A Year in Tech’ from Argos, part of the Sainsbury’s Group, today reveals how the nation has shopped for tech over a twelve-month period. From the explosion in demand for smart speakers and drones, to the drop in popularity of tablets and e-readers, ‘A Year in Tech’ reveals what’s hot and what’s not in the world of technology.
The data has shown that gen X (45-54 year olds) buys the most tech (23 per cent), closely followed by baby boomers (over 55s) and midults (35-44 year olds at 22 per cent) with millennials spending the least on tech (14 per cent for 18–24 year-olds and 19 per cent for 25-34 year olds).