The number of smart homes in Europe and North America hit 17.9m at the end of 2015, a new research report from Berg Insight has revealed, demonstrating the huge growth that the consumer-facing Internet of Things market has seen over the past few years.
North America is the world's most advanced smart home market, with an installation base of 12.7m smart homes by the close of 2015, and 56 per cent increase year-on-year. Strong market growth is expected to continue in the area for at least several years, with the number of smart homes in North America expected to reach 46.2m, or 35 per cent of all households, by 2020.
The European market is around two to three years behind the North American one in terms of penetration and maturity, with 5.3m smart homes in existence across Europe by the end of 2015. The market is expected to grow at a rate of around 54 per cent over the next five years, reaching 44.9m smart homes by 2020, or 20 per cent of all European households.
Smart thermostats, light bulbs, security systems, multi-room audio systems and networked cameras all rank among the most popular consumer products, with vendors such as Philips Lighting, Belkin, Nest, Sonos, Netatmo, D-Link and Honeywell leading the market in both Europe and North America.
"There is no doubt that regular consumers in the future will own and operate a wide range of connected objects in their homes, from connected home appliances and luminaires to thermostats and security devices," said Johan Svanberg, senior analyst at Berg Insight.
However, the report also warned that the market is still in its relative infancy, and many smart home ecosystems are undeveloped, with products considered complicated or confusing to use.
"Attractive use cases, inter-operable devices and well-implemented user interfaces are needed in order to accelerate the market," said Svanberg.
Voice-driven user interfaces were pointed to as a potential turning point for the smart home, with hubs like Alexa and Google Home serving to simplify interactions with smart devices.