The China smart device market has experienced a series of technological changes, ecosystem changes, and user upgrades over the past decade. Over the next decade, this market will face a new round of disruptive development. A series of changes, such as new architectures, new systems, new users, new industries, new services, and new channels are triggering a new market reaction, in which new models of cloud-based devices, terminals, and services; new manufacturing; and live commerce are all disrupting the development of the China smart device market.
In 2020, China has experienced an unprecedented pandemic, and the pandemic has impacted many aspects of development in the China smart device market. In this context, Antonio Wang, assistant vice president of IDC China, summarised the top 10 predictions for China's smart devices market in 2021, specifically:
- Prediction #1: More enterprises and consumers will be willing to pay for cloud-based smart device solutions. In 2021, more than 15% of consumers will consider paying for services on cloud-based devices, and more than 30% of business users will also consider payments for cloud-based smart device services.
- Prediction #2: Scenario-based definition will create a new ecosystem for smart devices. With the wide range of consumer smart device use case scenarios, an intrinsic scenario-based ecosystem is emerging, such as in the entertainment, health, education, and Smart Home smart ecosystems, as well as other scenario-based ecosystems. IDC predicts that around 8% of smart device products in 2021 will be related to education, more than 20% of smart device offerings will be related to Smart Home, and about 30% of smart devices will be related to healthcare.
- Prediction #3: Contactless connections will trigger diversified forms of smart devices, As traditional physical interactions have become outdated, 60% of organisations in China will deliver user experiences through automated operations and contactless ways to achieve large-scale customer engagement. The pandemic has further shifted more scenarios from in-person to contactless, for example, various vending machines on counters; virtual reality/augmented reality (VR/AR) real-estate viewing; and large, smart video conference systems. These are all promoting the diversified developments of smart devices and smart solutions.
- Prediction #4: The integration of emerging technologies and smart devices will accelerate. Smart devices will become more intelligent. A range of emerging technologies such as connectivity, interaction and display screens are gradually being applied to smart devices. In 2021, more than 50% of devices will be integrated with multimode interaction technology; more than 80% of devices will support 5G, Wi-Fi 6, Bluetooth, and other new connectivity modes; and more than 40% of devices will support artificial intelligence (AI) technology.
- Prediction #5:The improvement in population quality will drive new consumer demand. Over the past 10 years, the number of college graduates in China has increased by 70 million, and as the populace's cultivation improves, consumer demand also changes from simple consumption to a multilevel demand for new quality, new prices, new wealth creation, and new connotations.
- Prediction #6: There will be universal coverage of smart devices. In the digital age, children's studies and the daily life of the elderly have become more and more inseparable from smart devices. As children's watches, study tablets, and K12 computers gradually became popular in the preschool and primary schools, a good number of the population covered by smart devices are also becoming more and more younger. Despite the increasingly younger population being covered by smart devices, seniors have also begun to meet their health and entertainment needs through wearable devices, tablets, and other products. In 2021, more than 10% of children under the age of 14 will have at least one smart device, and more than 30% of 60+ year-old adults will have at least one smart device.
- Prediction #7: Second-hand smart devices will lead to the extension of these devices’ life cycle. Today, more and more consumers are accepting second-hand smart devices, especially the users with less purchasing capability. A good example are the elderly and children who often have second-hand smart devices received from the other members of the household. Some low-income groups may also purchase secondary smart device offerings. While this certainly promotes the coverage of smart devices in the market, smart device manufacturers are also extending the life cycle of smart devices.
- Prediction #8: Smart education will drive comprehensive development. 2021 will see a comprehensive implementation of smart education in and out of schools. It is expected that by 2021, more than 80% of classrooms will become smart classrooms. Smart interactive products such as electronic whiteboards will be equipped in the classroom. More than 30% of students use PCs or tablets for assisted learning, and more than 5% will even pair themselves with other smart device products such as smart printers and smart cameras for study.
- Prediction #9: Future enterprises will transform and upgrade, which will be focused on the future space, future culture, and future workforce. The pandemic has enabled enterprises to accelerate the transformation and upgrading of the future space, future culture, and future workforce, in which smart devices have become a key driver. In 2021, more than 40% of enterprises will consider building their own smart office system, of which more than 50% of small and medium-sized enterprises believe that multiscreen interaction between smart devices is a means to improve enterprise efficiency, and 80% of enterprises will be equipped with mobile office solutions.
- Prediction #10: Uncertainty will continue, and there will still be significant uncertainty and risk in the smart device market in 2021. In 2021, there will still be many uncertain factors at the political, economic, social, and technological levels in China, and these potentially uncertain factors may lead to some unexpected events in the market in 2021. Possible health concerns, diseases, and supply shortages will be the new uncertain factors. Over 20% of enterprises plan to adopt flexible sourcing methods to reduce the impact of these uncertainties.