By Han Xin, People’s Daily
China’s small home appliance market witnessed rapid growth in the first half of this year, registering a total of 25 billion yuan (about $3.87 billion) of retail sales and 119 million in unit sales.
In particular, home-cleaning appliances continued to maintain robust growth momentum, scoring a market size of 13.6 billion yuan that rose 40.2 percent year on year.
A woman surnamed Yin in Haidian district of Beijing recently bought a floor scrubber, which can easily make a floor covered with cat hair and sauce as clean as a new pin.
“Cleaning, a once tedious and laborious chore, becomes so much easier and simpler. After it’s done, the floor scrubber can clean itself automatically. All I have to do is simply press a button,” Yin told People’s Daily.
Such conveniences are made possible by smart technologies. Because of a built-in AI chip, Tineco Floor One series, floor cleaners developed by Tineco Intelligent Technology Co., Ltd., a company specializing in the development of high-end smart home appliances, can “sense” how dirty the floor is and automatically decide the intensity of the cleaning task, said Leng Ling, chief executive officer of the company.
According to Leng, the company saw its sales revenue grow by 817 percent year on year during the first six months of this year, and sold more than 140,000 units of Floor One smart floor cleaners during this year’s “618” (June 18) online shopping festival.
With the in-depth integration of AI technologies into the industry, smart home appliances are enjoying increasing popularity with Chinese people. Such products as smart door lock, floor-cleaning robot, and smart rice cooker have significantly improved the quality of people’s life.
More and more consumers, who enjoyed the convenience brought by their first smart product, have started to try more types of intelligent products, said Chen Bo, deputy general manager of the ecological chain department of Chinese tech giant Xiaomi, adding that building a smart ecosystem has become a new driving force for faster development of small home appliance industry.
Market segments of small home appliances are embracing explosive growth and seeing a trend toward diversified products, according to Dai Xiaoxia, deputy head of the consumer goods industry research institute of the think tank of China Center for Information Industry Development (CCID) under the country’s Ministry of Industry and Information Technology.
Against the backdrop of diversifying consumption needs and growing number of young consumers, intelligentization and personalization become a driver for the development of small home appliance industry, Dai pointed out, adding that families in less developed cities are showing increasing consumption demand for smart home appliances.
Livestreaming has also contributed to the rising sales of the industry. According to an executive of Ecovacs Robotics, a leading service robot maker in China, most of the offline experience stores of the company promote products through livestreaming.
During this year’s June 18 online shopping festival, the company’s store located in a shopping mall in Shanghai received more than 60 percent of its orders from viewers of its livestreaming sales promotion, said the executive.
Small home appliance brands’ increased investment in the online market and their increasingly mature sales approach featuring coordinated development of online and offline business have played an important role in the continuous growth of the market, suggests a report released recently by the CCID.
“Small home appliances are cheaper and have greater diversity, shorter life cycle, and more attributes of consumer goods, compared to traditional large ones. Meanwhile, their attractive appearances, rich functions, and important roles in people’s social life suit young consumers’ taste for personalized and exquisite products,” said an executive of the e-commerce division of Chinese online video-sharing platform Douyin.
What attracts small home appliance enterprises to short video and livestreaming platforms is their appeal to young people, according to the executive.
Small home appliance enterprises are generally optimistic about their products’ prospects in China. They believe that industrial structure optimization, increase in people’s income, and continuous upgrade of consumption, among other factors, will bring new growth points to the industry in the long run.
“More consumers will enjoy the convenience brought by various kinds of small home appliances and show more consumption desires,” said an executive in charge of the smart small appliance division of Chinese home appliance giant Midea Group.
The customer resources and products accumulated during the expansion stage of companies will translate into huge demand for new products, thus driving constant upgrading of products and improvement in services, the executive added.
“There is still a gap between the small home appliances ownership per household in China and that in developed countries,” said Leng, who believes the trend of consumption upgrading in China will generate tremendous opportunities to the small home appliance market.