The annual Consumer Electronics Show kicks off this week, and many people are excited to see how technology has improved and what they can expect to see for sale in 2020.
Samsung and LG both announced they will show off updates to their “smart fridges” at CES. Smart fridges have been around for a few years and they are already pretty intelligent – an internal camera allows you to see what’s in your fridge from your smartphone. But 2020 takes food storage and preservation to a whole new level. Both manufacturers said the new designs will feature image recognition software. The internal camera, now powered by AI, will tell you exactly what it sees and make recommendations on what to buy or what to prepare.
And that is just one new feature of these intelligent ice boxes. CivicScience surveyed more than 4,300 U.S. adults to learn what new feature most interested them, and if any intent to buy exists, given the likely retail price would be between $4,000 and $6,000.
While nearly 70% of U.S. adults surveyed were not tempted by the fancy features coming to fridges this year, a whole third were interested in a refrigerator with diverse capabilities.
Among those interested in smart fridge features, an ice maker was the most attractive of the four features mentioned. The ice maker can produce 2-inch spherical ice balls that melt slower than regular ice cubes. Essentially, no more whiskey stones or ice molds.
When looking at age, the younger the person, the more likely they are to be interested in at least some feature that comes with a smart fridge. The least amount of interest comes from those over 55. What’s interesting though is that the most popular feature among all adults, spherical ice balls, was most tempting for anyone over 55.
Among those interested in a smart fridge, the image recognition software was most appealing among Gen Z and Millennials (41% and 37% respectively), while only 14% of those over 55 thought it might be a helpful feature.
When looking at intent to buy, there was hardly a difference between LG and Samsung manufacturers. What’s most striking is that intent overall was only at 10% of U.S. adults, which is significantly lower than general interest in the different features.
While the cost of a new LG or Samsung smart fridge isn’t the most money a person could drop on a new appliance, it is still a fairly hefty price tag compared to what people usually pay to replace a refrigerator. CivicScience data showed that income was not a factor in interest in smart fridges, suggesting that price isn’t really a concern. It is more likely a matter of slow turnover of major kitchen appliances; a new refrigerator lasts between 10 and 15 years.
It is clear that adults in America like the idea of giving their fridges more intelligent and helpful capabilities. But given the lifespan of major household appliances, it might be a while before these become a staple in kitchens across the country.