A recent study conducted by WeBranding Global, a New York City-based global brand consultancy, led by Columbia University visiting scholar Rebecca Ding and former Nielsen consumer insights senior executive Georgia Zhuang, has found that the market for domestic robots is unbounded. Despite the existing high demand for house cleaning and lawn mowing robots, there is potential for products to deal with all other kinds of house chores.
There will be cooking robots, laundry robots, reading robots, and much more. Given enough time, the world will witness a smart home that is equipped with different robots that help with all aspects of daily lives.
“We encourage emerging brands or companies that want to get into this industry to focus on the possibility of other domestic robots,” said Rebecca Ding, “We believe this could be a great entry point for emerging players in the market to surpass other players and achieve a quantum leap,” Rebecca added.
Besides, the study found that household robots begin to play an important role in the smart home ecosystem.
Household robots have gained much popularity in recent decades. The advancements of Artificial Intelligence (AI), voice recognition technology, and microprocessors have made household robotic products more affordable for people.
Different types of household robots are created to fulfill various household needs. In general, there are two major types of household robots. The first kind is domestic robots, a category that includes vacuuming robots, lawn mowing robots, pool cleaning robots, window cleaning robots, house security robots, etc. This type of robot is created to help with different house chores.
Another kind of household robot is leisure and entertainment robots, robotic pets, companion robots for the elderly, and educational robots for children fall into this category. These robots are often equipped with voice or motion functions which can interact with people.
There is a greater demand for domestic robots among all household robots because they are practically beneficial for households. In other words, they can facilitate one or more household tasks. As mentioned above, major types of domestic robots include vacuuming robots, lawn mowing robots, pool cleaning and window cleaning robots.
Nowadays, nearly all the household robots in the marketplace can connect with Amazon Alexa, Google Home, or other smart home central control units. For example, all iRobot robots can connect with Alexa. This mechanism provides consumers a total hand-free control with home vacuuming, mopping, and sweeping. The smart home ecosystem brings human-machine interaction to an unprecedented level and offers people a new experience.
iRobot Roomba i7 has a base and can connect to phones
This study also includes a consumer survey which asked multi-dimensional questions with a focus on the topics of expectations for related household robotic products and purchase consideration. The online quantitative survey is targeted for the home appliances purchase decision makers in the household in the U.S., and the total number of completed responses are 567.
When asked about purchase intentions, vacuum robots, robots with security cameras and lawn mowing robots are the most wanted robots for households. This again confirms that the demand for domestic robots is the highest among all household robots, and the demand for vacuum robots is the highest among domestic robots.
In terms of brands, the survey shows that iRobot enjoys the highest recognition, far ahead of other competitors. This illustrates the importance of branding and marketing strategy in innovative industries like robots. Established brands enjoy more trust from customers because of its technology and reliability. However, the household industry is competitive compared with other traditional industries. Emerging brands with reliable technologies, higher product qualities, and the right set of branding and marketing strategies can easily accumulate brand awareness in time.
When asked about the most important purchase considerations. The most important two are price and functions which essentially means “value for money.” Manufacturers should focus on the reduction of cost and improvement of the function. In fact, cost is a major restraint that keeps people from buying related products. If a company can reduce its price through technology innovation or other methods, it will most likely become successful sooner or later.
One challenge that this industry face is about data privacy. As the robots get smarter, they sometimes will collect and store consumers’ private data to modify and improve the algorithm behind. This problem has long been controversial in the public discourse. Companies should pay close attention to related policy and regulation changes. It is wise to think ahead and make a comprehensive strategy to get prepared for various policy scenarios.
Another major challenge is that the demand for robots will increase slower in markets with cheap labor. For example, Europe and North America regions are the major markets for household robots because of the high cost of labor. According to data available the average cost of lawn mowing ranges from USD $25 to $60 per hour. Households with larger lawns need to spend thousands of dollars each year for their lawn. In such a case, a lawn mowing robot is no doubt an economical choice.
In the ASPA region, countries such as China, Japan, and South Korea all witnessed a huge increase of demand for household robots. We believe the increasing cost of labor contributes to the increase. However, in countries such as Vietnam, Thailand and India, the demand for household robots has not grown significantly. We think this is partly because of the relatively cheaper labor cost, though other factors such as technology awareness and cultural differences also play a role in this situation.