Editor’s note: Trevor Godman is divisional director of technology research at GfK U.K., London. This is an edited version of a post that originally appeared under the title, “Smart home devices trends and insights for businesses.” 

The smart home devices sector boomed in the second half of 2020 as consumers settled into life at home, focusing on purchases that made their extended time at home convenient, comfortable and enjoyable. Here I will explore the trends that will shape the smart home device sector over the coming years.

Pre-2020, growth rates in smart home devices had started to slow following several years of strong growth fueled by early adopters, particularly in categories such as smart speakers, according to our Smart Home Devices Trends Research.

In 2019, businesses in the sector were starting to grapple with attracting mainstream consumers who were looking beyond product “coolness” and toward the simplicity and functionality of the services smart home devices can provide. In the same year, we forecasted the market for smart devices, excluding phones and watches, would grow globally by 9% to reach €133 billion.

With the early months of the pandemic leading to a pause in spending, people focused on purchasing items based on “immediate needs” such as food and basic FMCG goods rather than those based on “wants,” with overall retail spending recording a 23% year-on-year drop in the U.K. in April 2020.

The home appliance industry also faced product shortages as online retailers focused attention on ensuring people could get access to essential items while managing the safety of staff along the supply chain.

As the pandemic progressed, there was a surge in smart sales growth based on smart home device trends such as consumers looking for ways to make their homes more comfortable, more secure and more entertaining. Within the EU7, people purchased $28 billion worth of smart h...