The Middle East, Turkey and Africa (META) smart home devices market saw its value increase 21.6% year on year in value last year, 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 the META market’s value reached $9.5 billion in 2021.
The key growth drivers were vendor-led awareness campaigns, the local customization of products, and improved user experiences. The compatibility capabilities of most devices and the ease with which they can be connected — mainly via existing household Wi-Fi connections — have also been key factors in pushing end users to embrace the convenience of smart home devices.
“One of the major challenges previously holding the market back was the fact that many of the devices available on the market were wired and needed to be retrofitted, often requiring the help of a technician to install them,” says Isaac T. Ngatia, a senior research analyst at IDC in charge of smart home devices category. “However, most of the products now being brought to market are simply ‘plug and play’. Indeed, the new generation of smart products such as doorbells, cameras, and lightbulbs, for example, are extremely easy to install.
“Some vendors have also invested heavily in above-the-line marketing and communication campaigns that have brought a greater understanding of the benefits of smart home devices to the wider market. The need for continuous communication around smart home devices is key to driving awareness, given the wide array of products that make up this diverse industry.”
The region’s channel/distribution landscape expanded through 2021 as more players entered the market. The most prominent of these players are the region’s telecom operators, with some of them expanding their home subscription offerings to now include smart home devices. Retailers at various levels of the market have also entered the fray, stocking a varied selection of smart home devices. This is in addition to the myriad online offerings, which continue to be the main source of smart home devices in the region.
“Customizing devices to suit local tastes and preferences has been another major step in the right direction for the market,” says Ngatia. “For example, we have seen the introduction of smart speakers featuring Arabic in local dialects. This is a key step in raising interest, not only in the smart speaker sub-category, but also in the overall concept of having smart devices in the home.”
Entertainment continued to be a major growth driver through 2021, with many people forced to stay at home for long periods due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Demand for streaming services, casual TV viewing, and gaming spurred the growth of streaming sticks and to some extent smart TVs, although the latter was impacted by supply shortages of panels.