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Global sales of smart appliances will climb rapidly over the remainder of the decade, reaching just under 45 million units by 2020, finds a new report from Pike Research.

Several key players in the general appliance market - including Bosch, Electrolux, GE, Indesit and Whirlpool - have pilot smart-appliance programs under way. However, some manufacturers have taken a wait-and-see approach to the smart grid. These appliance makers are concerned with the size and scope of projects relative to the number of meters being installed.

With millions of meters deployed, manufacturers would like to see more efforts toward understanding consumer responses to smart appliances and to the overall smart grid, the report notes. As with many smart grid initiatives, utilities and service providers are learning that positive customer engagement is vital to success.

According to the report, the highest-volume segments in the smart-appliance market will be clothes dryers, clothes washers, dishwashers and refrigerators/freezers. Other smaller market segments will include water heaters, window air-conditioning units and ranges/hobs/ovens.

“Positive growth around the world in the overall household appliance market presents opportunities for the smart-appliance submarket, especially with the continuing investment in smart grid initiatives,” says research director Carol Stimmel.

“However, consumers will only be motivated to move to smart appliances prior to their 10-year average replacement cycle if the appliances have the right price and enable them to save on energy costs,” she adds. “Economies of scale, better technical integration and the emergence of dynamic pricing are critical elements to realizing the potential of the smart-appliance market.”



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