Strategy Analytics estimates that there are now 750 million homes around the world with active Wi-Fi networks, and nearly 5 billion home Wi-Fi devices are in use. The TV is now the location of nearly a third of all connected devices, but this is set to change during the 2020s. This report examines the changing shape of the wireless home, discusses the changing importance of the major device segments, and assesses the opportunity for the latest variant, Wi-Fi 6.
The report also finds that the leading home Wi-Fi standard today is Wi-Fi 5 (802.11ac), accounting for three quarters of 2019 device sales. The newly introduced standard, Wi-Fi 6, will account for a third of device sales by 2023, and is expected to become dominant later in the 2020s.
The growth of Wi-Fi-enabled smart home devices such as smart speakers, smart appliances, video cameras and thermostats, will represent the third wave in the evolution of the wireless home. This began with home computing devices in the early 2000s, and was followed by smart TV devices in the 2010s. In 2019 smart TV devices will account for 29% of all home Wi-Fi devices in use, but will be overtaken by smart home devices in 2020, which will eventually account for more than 60% of Wi-Fi devices in use.
“The shape of the wireless home is constantly evolving to meet changing consumer needs and expectations,” says David Watkins, Director, Connected Home Devices. “Wi-Fi technology has adapted well to these requirements over time and looks set to remain the dominant platform for in-home internet connectivity for many years to come.”
The report also identifies further questions which vendors and service providers should consider:
- How serious is the risk that 5G could replace Wi-Fi for some in-home use cases, and which devices could be most affected?
- Will the Wi-Fi 6 variant be sufficient to meet needs for data throughput, reliability and ease of use?
- How should device vendors present and market the capabilities of Wi-Fi 6 in order maximize sales and profit potential?
- Which types of smart home device will see the biggest sales volumes?