China sees robust smart appliance market

A 5G-based robot makes coffee at the Mobile World Congress 2021, Feb. 23. (People’s Daily Online/Long Wei)

China’s smart home appliance industry embraced rapid development in recent years. Around 82.4 percent of Chinese families used smart appliances last year, up by 15.1 percentage points from 2019, according to data analytics firm All View Cloud.

Today, vacuum robots are freeing people from the daily grind of household chores; smart locks allow people to unbolt the doors with their fingerprints; intelligent speakers can play not only music, but also radio dramas upon voice command.

“We’ll have a peace of mind even when our kids and parents are home alone,” said a woman surnamed Wang living in Chaoyang District, Beijing who has recently installed a smart camera at home. The device enables her to see what happens in every corner of her house on a mobile application when she’s out, and she can even speak to her families through the camera.

According to statistics, China is home to a total of 5,759 firms related to smart speakers.

Smart appliances enjoy a very high reputation among Chinese consumers. Liu Qian, associate researcher with China Center for Internet Economy Research, Central University of Finance and Economics, explained that smart appliances, aiming to make home management more efficient, can tangibly improve the life quality of users.

“With the application of 5G technology, as well as the integration of artificial intelligence and internet of things, the functions of these appliances will be further enhanced, thus attracting more consumers,” she said.

A man surnamed Pan from Guigang, south China’s Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region, was planning to buy a smart phone for his family. “I thought my parents wouldn’t agree, but the result was exactly the opposite,” he said.

In the era of internet, which features efficient and highly connected logistics networks, smart appliances are no longer exclusive to citizens in first- and second-tier cities. They are more and more accepted by users from lower-tier markets, including Pan’s parents.

According to a recent report issued by Tmall, an e-commerce platform under Alibaba, Chinese families in third- and lower-tier cities are now major consumers of smart appliances and moving forward at an accelerated speed.

It indicated a change in the consumption demand of many residents, said experts. Consumers, most of whom were pragmatists in the old days, are focusing more on whether products can improve their life quality. This marks a change of consumption value, and also reflects people’s attitude toward smart appliances.