The Companies Behind Today's Must-Have Smart Gadgets
Are you one of those people who start their day woken by Alexa, then drink your coffee that your timed coffee maker started while you slept, then leave the house just as the robot vacuum cleaner starts its patrol? You’re far from alone. According to MarketsandMarkets, a provider of B2B research, the global smart home market size is expected to grow from $78.3 billion in 2020 to $135.3 billion by 2025.
This anticipated growth is due to various factors, such as the increasing number of internet users, rising consumer disposable income in developing economies, the growing importance of home monitoring in remote locations, the increased need for energy-saving and low carbon emission-oriented solutions, and the rapid proliferation of smartphones and smart gadgets.
Consumer electronics retailer Best Buy Co., Inc. (Tii:BBY) is looking to get in on the action, launching Best Buy Beta, a new membership program that offers exclusive member pricing, unlimited Geek Squad technical support, up to two years of protection on most product purchases, free standard shipping and delivery, and free installation on most gadgets and appliances. Here are a few other popular brands banking on the smart device boom:
iRobot Corporation (Tii:IRBT) carved out its niche in the home robotics market early with the Roomba. While other competitors have entered the market, Roomba has positioned itself as the market leader, generating $1.4 billion in sales for 2020, an 18% increase from 2019. Looking to cut out the middle-man, iRobot announced that its direct-to-consumer sales more than doubled in the fourth quarter and generated 11% of total 2020 revenue, while also reporting strong demand from major retailers worldwide. The company’s shares are up more than 140% for the trailing 12 months ended April 9, 2021.
Roku Inc. (Tii:ROKU) arguably changed how we watch TV, leading millions of consumers to ‘cut the cord’ from cable companies and stream their video content via the Internet. Launched back in 2008, the Roku is now on its ninth generation Roku Ultra, a 4K HD streaming device that features a voice remote with personal shortcut buttons that is also compatible with Apple’s AirPlay. Its Roku Channel recently raised its content profile, acquiring the global distribution rights of the long-running “This Old House” home improvement show in a deal that includes the popular program’s libraries, all digital assets and television production studio.
Garmin Ltd. (Tii:GRMN) may have started out helping us get from place to place without an old-school map, but it has since expanded into dozens of products that include USB chargers for aircraft, fish-finders for angling enthusiasts, smartwatches, smart scales and more. The company recently unveiled Lily, a small and fashionable smartwatch designed for women that still maintains the health and fitness features consumers want in smartwear. Garmin’s shares are up some 75% for the trailing 12 months ended April 9, 2021.
As the company behind Google, Alphabet Inc. (Tii:GOOG) has a strong presence in the smart home gadget space. Its Nest Thermostat lets users control their home heating and cooling systems by phone or voice, set temperature schedules, and remotely monitor their energy consumption. For the audiophile, Google’s Nest Hub line of speakers and smart displays compete with the Amazon Alexa, connecting each room in the house with the Google Assistant. Shares of the multinational conglomerate are up more than 88% for the 12 months ended April 9, 2021.
Let’s not forget the smart exercise equipment that has flooded the market over the last few years. Peloton Interactive, Inc. (Tii:PTON), a manufacturer of smart stationary bicycles, remains at the top of this growing industry. The company recently acquired Precor, one of the largest global commercial fitness equipment providers with a significant U.S. manufacturing presence. The deal will boost Peloton’s manufacturing capacity and research and development capabilities. While Peloton may be at the top of the industry, Mirror, a tech-enabled mirror with a camera and speakers so customers can participate in live fitness classes at home by Lululemon Athletica (Tii:LULU) has a rapidly growing audience.
With smart devices and accessories now commonplace among American consumers, look for smart clothing and other traditional items to receive an upgrade to appeal to the gadget aficionado and tech geek inside almost all of us.