In less than half a decade, internet connectivity has evolved from mainly existing in the world of personal computing devices to now being included in virtually all products. Today, internet connectivity can be found in cars, toys, machines, and even public infrastructure. While growth of embedded internet connectivity has been fast across many product and equipment categories, the most rapid expansion today is occurring in the Consumer Connected Device space. Home electronics, such as televisions, videogame consoles, set-top boxes, and DVD players, are incorporating internet connectivity, as are mobile consumer devices like e-readers, media players, tablets, and digital cameras. Rapid adoption of connected devices is being driven by consumers who require constant, real-time access to the internet.
However, it's no longer just the web and email that drive users to access the internet. Consumers today require web access for a variety of reasons including location based services, social networking, video / conference calls, application (app) use, gaming and entertainment, cloud computing services, and more. Simply stated, the internet has evolved, and the associated products and services offered by the web now form a core part of consumers' daily lives. Although the market for consumer connected devices is still in the early stages of development, initial product and service offerings have been very successful to date. In fact, e-readers, tablets, and connected-TVs are enjoying some of the highest adoption rates in the history of consumer electronics. With the world becoming increasingly dependent on the internet, the outlook for continuing connected device adoption is strong. In response to such strong demand, companies around the world are increasingly targeting and profiting from the connected device phenomenon.
Technology component suppliers (memory manufacturers, chip providers, etc) are forming relationships with device manufacturers and benefitting from the resulting industry growth while content/service/application providers are devising strategies and building ecosystems to spread their systems across multiple product categories. Meanwhile, telecommunications companies are devising new business models as they seek to connect multiple device categories to mobile networks. Going forward, more types of consumer devices will become internet-enabled, and new device categories will likely emerge as well (similar to the e-reader's emergence in 2008). As the world becomes increasingly connected, it will also be possible for many consumer devices to interact will open up new business models and services that will greatly benefit and simplify the lives of consumers, as well as offer vast profit opportunities to companies targeting the consumer connected device market. These factors, along with the high quality user experiences, are combining to drive rapid growth of consumer connected devices.
The global market for consumer connected devices will expand rapidly and enjoy a multiyear wave of growth as a result of strong demand from end-customers. Consumers seeking on-demand access to content and services are moving beyond traditional computing tools in order to reap the benefits of a "connected lifestyle." With the overall shift toward connected lifestyles becoming more pronounced, growth in the consumer connected device market will significantly outpace other, more traditional computing segments.
The following list summarizes some of the major themes and findings of our study.
1. Although the connected device space is a relatively young market, business models are evolving quickly and early movers with unique customer-oriented value-creating strate- Figure 1: Global Connected Device Shipment Forecast Global Consumer Connected Device Market Forecast Overview & Executive Summary and market share. Product differentiation has also emerged as a critical value-creating factor.
2. Stand-alone products with functions that can be easily incorporated into converged, multi-function devices face the most risk and uncertainty. The most threatened products include cameras, portable game systems, and certain camcorders since features of these devices are rapidly being matched by converged systems such as tablets and smartphones.
3. When it comes to the connected home and the connected consumer, WWAN and WLAN technologies currently dominate the marketplace. Simplicity, familiarity, and ease of integration and installation have made WLAN and WWAN the technologies of choice for consumers and device manufacturers.
4. The dynamics, standards, product requirements, and customer needs associated with connected devices differ from the competitive aspects which developed during the personal computing era. Power efficiency, functionality, ease-of-use, and many other factors have emerged as key elements driving connected device adoption. In response, a new group of industry players has appeared to address both the tech and connected device sector value chains.
5. In the connected device market, the physical product is only part of the revenue opportunity for device manufacturers. OEMs that bundle their products with access to unique value-adding content, services, and ecosystems will enjoy the largest returns on investments. Additionally, connected devices can offer OEMs increased customer and product knowledge. Utilizing and analyzing this information correctly will afford companies an opportunity to "lock" customers into their product and service ecosystems.
6. In response to strong end-user demand, shipments of consumer connected devices will rise from 262.1 million units in 2010 to 712.1 million units in 2015. This represents a compound annual growth rate of 22.1%. By 2015, the global installed base of consumer connected devices will reach 2.1 billion units.