Canadian consumers are clearly gadget hungry. Over the recent holidays, stores were bulging with displays of everything from smart watches to digital pens to the latest Bluetooth earbuds. Competition for a slice of consumer holiday spending is always intense and every year a small number of gadgets generates major demand. Recently we asked questions about some popular tech gadgets to gauge the probability that they would be holiday shopping successes this past season or in the near future.
From a slow start over the past few years, characterized by shipping lags and price slashing, Smart Speakers have emerged as a sales superstar. We asked our Crowd if video enabled Smart Speakers would be the best-selling gadget of the 2018 Holiday season. We generated a 74% probability that this would indeed be the case. Our crowd felt strongly that these devices were fun and entertaining and convenient and easy to use. These benefits clearly drove consumer interest as Amazon just confirmed record breaking sales for the Alexa and Echo dot speakers in particular. eMarketer reports that household penetration for these gadgets has grown by double digits to reach almost 20% of households after the holiday shopping period. This is the fastest rate of growth seen for any current tech gadget categories. We should look for continued growth in this category as more manufacturers get involved and more brands add features and capabilities.
Dash Mounted Video Cameras
These tech gadgets first appeared in law enforcement vehicles to provide a video record of officer interaction with the public. Their use in law enforcement has grown slowly but steadily and has helped spawn a whole new industry around private vehicle dashcams. Despite the large number of companies in the market, so far, sales have been unspectacular. When we asked our “Crowd” whether Dash mounted video cameras would become standard equipment on new cars in the next two years, they assigned a 75% probability that this would indeed happen. Many consumers see these devices as convenient, easy to use, and as promoting proactive safety when driving. Those less enthusiastic were concerned that they might distract drivers, violate privacy and actually cause accidents! Automotive manufacturers have some reluctance making these devices standard equipment as there are numerous privacy issues in different jurisdictions that could make the inclusion of these devices as standard equipment problematic. For the time being, manufacturers would prefer that vehicle owners either install equipment themselves or have their mechanic/dealer do it. In any case, our Crowd Intelligence platform highlights a significant desire for these devices to eventually be included as standard equipment in new vehicles.
Video Door Bells
This category of tech gadget was born in a garage in 2012 when Jamie Siminoff designed what he called the DoorBot. After several rounds of investment and development the Ring product was launched. Last year, Amazon purchased Ring for somewhere between 1.2 and 1.8 billion dollars and other companies rushed to get in the game. Video door bells exploded onto the holiday shopping season this past December. Our Crowd Intelligence platform indicated that there was a 69% probability that Video Door Bells like Ring and Nest would be the best-selling security gadget of the 2018 season. Qualitatively, our predictors clearly played back the safety and security benefits of these devices. They are seen by many as “must have” devices that are well worth the expense. In fact, the home security category broke sales records for Amazon.ca and the Ring brand itself was the number 2 ranked item within the category in terms of sales over the holiday. Crowd Intelligence was an accurate predictor of success for this new category!