Dixons Carphone is launching a Christmas assault on the smart tech market, rolling out Smart Tech zones in more than 200 Carphone and Currys/PC World stores in time for the holiday season.
The Smart Tech zones are at the forefront of Dixons Carphone’s push into the Internet of Things, which is a key strategy for the retailer. Since the Dixons Carphone merger in July, the company has ramped up its drive into smart tech, opening 150 Smart Tech zones to date, with plans for a further 50 before Christmas.
Dixons Carphone’s smart tech assault comes as analysts predict significant sales of smart tech devices this Christmas. A recent report by the Centre for Retail Research is predicting UK consumer spending of £104.7 million on wearable technology alone this Christmas.
The Smart Tech zones offer products across four categories – Fitness, Watches, Gadgets, and Smart Home. The zones have been given key locations in all 200 stores, placed at the front and centre of the stores with staff primed to help customers understand the smart tech devices on offer.
Dave Ward (pictured), Dixons Carphone head of new technology and innovations, told Mobile the zones are already generating significant interest among consumers.
He said: ‘If you look at how people interact at the Smart Tech play tables they are totally engaged. These areas really bring the smart tech devices to life, and once our staff talk to customers and explain how these devices work, customers really get it.’
Ward is predicting smart tech sales will reach a critical mass this Christmas. ‘I think this will be the first of many more smart tech Christmases,’ he added.
Ward said the devices are also appealing to a wider demographic than is usual for new technology. ‘This is one of the first times in my career that I have seen a new technology impact across the age ranges,’ he said, pointing to the growing demand for fitness bands among older consumers as an example.
The recent cold weather is also expected to drive sales of smart home devices, Ward said. ‘Just as we see sales of fitness bands spike around events such as the London Marathon, as the cold weather sets in, demand for smart home devices, such as smart thermostats, has grown.’
Ward said there is no sign of a dominant manufacturer emerging in the smart tech market but predicts Google, Microsoft and Apple ‘will pay a huge role in enabling smart technology, which along with open standards, will see manufacturers driving a renaissance in tech design in terms of watches and fitness bands, stimulating further growth,’ he added.
Ward is also predicting a surge in Smart Home sales next year. ‘The Smart Home is the final frontier. It has not really been touched yet,’ he said.