European consumers set to embrace “intelligent living”

Thursday, February 20 2020

In Europe, 58% of consumers carry just one smart device when they are on the go, according to the latest Canalys survey. But this is set to change. According to our research, 84% of these consumers say they are likely to buy a new smart device, above and beyond a smartphone. This might be a wearable band, a smart personal audio device, a smart speaker, a tablet or a notebook PC. Technology companies old and new are rushing to create an ecosystem of connected smart devices to target this opportunity. But price is still a major factor that brands must consider when trying to attract consumers. Most consumers surveyed (71%) said that having appealing bundles at an affordable price is vital to their decision.


Canalys estimates that vendors will ship more than 500 million smart devices in Europe by 2023. Europe is primed to be a focal market as consumers around the world shift to intelligent living. The region has long been regarded as a lucrative and strategic market that global players cannot ignore, and consumers there have a high propensity to adopt new technology. A broad range of technologies and products are always available, with vendors, innovators and platform companies from both East and West vying for wallet share. Europe also boasts strong, established and consolidated retail channels. The channel is well positioned to create solutions and bundles, targeting the interlinking factors between separate device categories.

Canalys recommends that vendors targeting the intelligent living sector should focus product development on four use case categories: entertainment, health and fitness, productivity and connected living.

  • Entertainment: ubiquitous high-speed connectivity is prompting users to demand premium audio, video and gaming experiences wherever they are. This content is increasingly streamed to a smart device and shared with others. Peripheral technologies, such as truly wireless earbuds, are now designed to be worn for longer, and bring voice-based interaction to enhance experiences.
  • Health and fitness: wearable devices have a stronghold in fitness. But new sensor integrations, such as temperature and chemical sensors, will bring more granularity to personal analytics. The bridges between wearables and other devices, such as smart speakers, smart displays, smart TVs and connected gym equipment, will enable new kinds of workouts and seamless tracking.
  • Productivity: always-connected PCs with 5G integration are expected to​ bring a wave of productivity improvements alongside technologies such as foldable and dual-screen displays. Knowledge workers will also benefit from better smartphone-to-PC integration, while creatives will benefit from seamless connectivity and syncing between many devices, such as cameras, audio capture devices, encoders, mobiles and PCs, all of which can be used to create, edit and publish content.
  • Connected living: smart home technologies are revolutionizing how we interact with our appliances, with voice becoming a primary input and feedback tool. But smart assistants will go further, bridging multiple user scenarios for intelligent living across homes, offices, in cars and while on the go. This will bring a range of benefits to users, including task automation, greater safety and improved energy efficiency.

Canalys discovered that smartphones, tablets and notebook PCs are the three devices most commonly owned by European consumers. Of the other, newer smart device categories, 29% claim to own wireless earphones, 27% own a smart speaker, 23% own a smartwatch, 22% own wireless headphones, 18% own a fitness band and 16% own truly wireless earbuds. But this does not correlate with the devices European consumers claim to find most important to their daily lives. European consumers value smartwatches and truly wireless earbuds more than tablets. While 84% of tablet owners rated their device as at least “somewhat Important”, the corresponding result for smartwatches and truly wireless earbuds were 89% and 90%. It is no surprise that both categories are seeing strong momentum in shipment growth.

Canalys also assessed usage habits and purchase drivers for each device category. In the case of smart speakers, the most common use case is content streaming. But smart home ecosystem integration was second, with 19% of respondents rating it as their most important feature. Voice is clearly the major input mechanism for the smart home now. Its commercial opportunity is huge, and in Europe it will be propelled by Project CHIP, which brings together Amazon, Apple and Google with Zigbee Alliance members to streamline communication standards between devices, apps and cloud services.

Canalys expects more vendors will pivot their strategies toward device integration capabilities. The objective will be to form ecosystems, while embedding additional layers of utility, entertainment, social and other elements to spur the creation of appealing use cases. Smart devices will be able to sense and learn about their surroundings, with smart assistants providing actionable intelligence to offer users true intelligent living experiences. But to achieve this, vendors must overcome common concerns around privacy and data security, and learn to navigate Europe’s vast and diverse range of languages, demographics and routes to market.

Survey methodology: Canalys conducted a survey with the aim of discovering insights into smart device and intelligent ecosystem use case adoption in Europe. The survey was conducted online during the third week of February 2020. A total of 4,144 respondents from the UK, Italy, France and Russia, age 16 or older completed the entire survey. Each country yielded a response total of over a thousand.

For more information, please contact:

Canalys ChinaJason Low: +86 159 2128 2971Nicole Peng: +86 150 2186 8330

Canalys IndiaRushabh Doshi: +91 99728 54174Adwait Mardikar: +91 96651 38668

Canalys SingaporeIshan Dutt: +65 8399 0487Shengtao Jin: +65 6657 9303

Canalys UKBen Stanton: +44 7824 114 350Mo Jia: +33 785 683 766

Canalys USAVincent Thielke: +1 650 644 9970Marcy Ryan: +1 650 862 4299

About Canalys

Canalys is an independent analyst company that strives to guide clients on the future of the technology industry and to think beyond the business models of the past. We deliver smart market insights to IT, channel and service provider professionals around the world. We stake our reputation on the quality of our data, our innovative use of technology and our high level of customer service.

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