FOCUS: Yandex offers more smart home items as demand rises on lower prices
By Yekaterina Yezhova
MOSCOW, Apr 24 (PRIME) -- Internet company Yandex rides the wave of Russia’s soaring market of smart home devices with a new range of gadgets, which gain popularity as they become more affordable and diverse, sellers said.
“Today the users can buy new Station Max, Yandex Hub, and sensors supporting the Zigbee protocol. A smart speaker with (voice assistant) Alice costs 29,990 rubles, Hub has a price tag of 4,990 rubles and sensors 1,990 rubles each. Sales in Belarus and Kazakhstan will start until the end of April,” Yandex said on April 18 in a statement.
The company said the users can pair the smart speaker with Alice with the sensors and other devices. Many scenarios will run even offline, because the new devices get connected directly via the Zigbee protocol, they operate more steadily and turn on faster.
Yandex now offers five Zigbee-supporting sensors, which are a sensor to open windows and doors, a motion and lighting sensor, a temperature and humidity sensor, a leak sensor, and a wireless button.
“Yandex’s new gadgets are already on offer. When buying Station Max with Zigbee, customers get two accessories for free,” Andrei Petrov, head of media relations at electronics retailer M.Video-Eldorado, told PRIME adding that the protocol secures faster connection and the button helps automatize the smart home system functioning.
The retailer’s January–March sales of smart devices for security and automatization of household tasks surged by 50% on the year and more than doubled in comparison with 2021. The average check shrank by 5% to about 1,400 rubles.
Mobile operator MegaFon, which runs a chain of mobile electronics stores, said popularity of smart home solutions is burgeoning. Sales of gadgets for smart home in the united retail chain of MegaFon and Yota increased by 52% on the year in January–March.
“A decrease of the average price of such devices by 35% has significantly stimulated demand. Manufacturers started producing cost-effective solutions thanks to simplification of technical parameters, while the users get a full-fledged device to automatize the home space,” MegaFon Sales Director David Borzilov said in a statement.
“For example, the price of a smart lamp is almost comparable to the one of a standard LED bulb. A year ago prices of the category started from 1,300 rubles, now the new devices can be purchased for 699 rubles.”
A smart socket has become the fastest growing category with the sales jumping by 86% on the year in January–March. Smart lighting systems were number two and their sales rose by 40%. Sales of sensors in MegaFon’s stores grew by 17%.
“Smart lamps are still the chief element of a smart home. Smart lighting systems account for 60% of total sales of smart devices. Producers expand their assortment proactively. For example, Yandex’s smart lamp released at the end of 2022 has become the bestseller,” MegaFon said.
The operator said it plans to expand the number of smart home goods by more than 30% in 2023 thanks to Russian brands, among others.
Petrov at M.Video-Eldorado said the retailer saw the highest demand for smart lamps, whose sales more than doubled, as well as control systems, up 22%, and smart sockets, up 20% in January–March. Aqara, Xiaomi, Yandex, Sber, and Hiper were the most popular brands.
“One of the ecosystem drivers is a higher demand for smart speakers with virtual assistants that a wide range of customers find useful for various purposes as they are connected to the Internet and equipped with virtual assistants together with the options of integration in a smart home system and voice control over household appliances,” Petrov told PRIME.
M.Video-Eldorado’s sales of smart speakers spiked by 120% on the year in January–March and tripled in comparison with 2021, which were mainly boosted by spring holidays and popularity of such devices as presents.
“Yandex leads this category among the manufacturers, and VK and Sber strengthen their positions,” Petrov said.
The assortment of affordable devices with various formats of remote control is getting wider with Russian and Chinese companies.
“Installation and use of smart home gadgets require no special skills or additional repair work. Amid the trend of digitalization of all spheres of life, the smart home category has a potential of further progress and audience growth,” the M.Video-Eldorado representative said.
(81.4863 rubles – U.S. $1)