Smart Appliance Offers Big Opportunities

01: Question

Wearables, smart appliance, smart home, customization… such concepts are big with the rise of the mobile internet and more savvy consumers. They are making big impacts in our daily lives too. Technology is changing our lives. However, it is creating the demand bubble too.

With emerging technologies comes a long process of market cultivation, potentially involving obsoleting. Only those products accepted by the consumers get to be big. Therefore, big investment and hard efforts are required. Those in the business must take the risk of not being accepted by the consumers. Artificial demand, instead of genuine demand, leads to the bubble.

Midea’s white goods division set out to develop wearables and smart appliance based on market insights, hoping to seize the opportunity window in the market. The division turned to S.POINT for business insights and innovative ideas so as to enlarge the scope and identify products that would be genuinely demanded by the consumers. (White goods include electronic equipment that replace human labor in house chores, such as washing machines, kitchen wares, and other devices that improve the living standards.)

02: Insight

Putting the people at the center is the way to precise insights. S.POINT strategists investigated consumer behavior in relation to wearables and smart appliance by exploring individual consumer cases. They also set out to conduct a comprehensive desk review involving smart appliance, smart home, IoT, and wearables markets in an effort to understand the industry and technological feasibility.

During the scoping period, the strategists conducted analysis from three perspectives: market conditions, consumer behavior, and the potential integration between home appliance and the internet. Brainstorming backed by sound methodologies help provide clear insights to the strategists.

The strategists found that individual members of the same family living in the same space would have different needs. The mother would have concerns for house chores. The young would hope for smart things to make life easier and save time. The strategists therefore offered consumer insights along two lines: rookie turned top gun and differentiated needs satisfied in the same space.

03: Solution

“Rookie turned top gun” offers insights on young people. Smart appliance makes life easier for those with less life experiences and helps them learn living skills quickly. Such appliance may easily make dinner and even help the user share the meal making experience on social media. The strategists offered two opportunity spaces: culinary tradition and lazy push. The goal is to make life easier, even for the lazy and inexperienced. “Differentiated needs satisfied in the same space” makes the mother happy by helping her resolving problems with smart appliance.

Technologies make life easier, but the key to make it happen is to discover real consumer needs. Market investigation provides consumer insights, which coupled with design thinking leads to actionable opportunity space. S.POINT has always focused on innovative thinking like this. Only by solid research and in-depth exploration, can we identify real consumer demands, thus helping brands make innovate happen.

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