The UK is a wealthy developed democracy where the adoption of smart products is already underway. As such, it should account for a significant portion of the global smart pacifier market. The smart pacifier was established early in the previous decade and began sales around 2015. The device was preceded by the ipacify, a Bluetooth option pacifier that served the same purpose as the smart pacifier. The device in question is an essential gadget in most homes with children under the age of 5. Electrical devices and gadgets are in abundance in British homes considering the economic state of the United Kingdom today.
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Smart gadget use in the UK
The increase in smart gadgets in the UK is evidence of the potential market growth for smart pacifiers within the region. Tools similar to the smart pacifier rely on connecting with other smart devices for monitoring setting, data transfer, and other services which may be affiliated with the setting and conditioning of the device and its retrieval when lost. This means that for smart pacifiers to be widely used, the consumers will need to be well-versed with other smart gadgets and have an abundance of them or at least one within their homes or in possession of a child’s caregiver. Factors supporting the purchase and use of smart gadgets within the UK, as outlined above, therefore, support the use of the smart pacifier in the region. As such, the prospects of smart pacifier adoption are positive and likely higher than for many other nations. As such, an optimistic forecast may be made of faster growth than that of the target population.
Market growth challenges for the Smart Pacifier
However, the product purchase and distribution faces a challenge because, as with many highly developed nations, the UK is experiencing a small decline in birth rates as women choose to focus on their careers over having children. As smart pacifiers appeal primarily and almost exclusively to families with babies in them, this trend is somewhat problematic. However, births are continuing, and the UK population is projected to increase from its current 66.8 million figure to 70 million by 2031, though much of this growth is attributed to immigration (Office for National Statistics, 2021). As such, the problem is not yet large, and the prospects for smart pacifier sales for the next five years remain stable. The forecast results are presented in Figure 1 below, where the UK is assumed to have 5% of the global market initially due to its population size and high adoption of smart devices.
Another challenge that may emerge and interfere with smart pacifier sales in the UK is the potential slowdown of the economy caused by COVID-19. The virus has slowed down financial transactions, business, and even interaction in both 2020 and 2021 consecutively and led to the rerouting of life plans for numerous families as some even lose their lives. The lockdowns had well-known economic consequences. These consequences include; the loss of numerous jobs, it caused a go-slow in potential investments, thus stalling employment, potential work promotions, and an overall weakening of the economy. Recovery from this slump may take a considerable time, during which the population’s buying power may be lower than before 2020. The increase in unemployment due to COVID-19 is shown in Figure 2.
Smart devices, such as pacifiers, are ultimately luxury novelties at this time, which can be supplemented by much cheaper and more reliable alternatives along with some additional effort. The cost reduction for using the traditional pacifier is backed up by the fact that more people can now spend more time at home to reduce pacifier use in their children (Guedes et al., 2019). Implying parents can put in the extra work as an effect of the reduction in general activity among the population has been noted following the lockdowns and working from home. The use of the product, which is often put in a child’s mouth and constantly falls to the ground, may also reduce as the virus made people more observant of their hands hygiene (Guedes et al., 2019). Additionally, the products that come into contact with their bodies and the added risk they present in the way of contracting viruses such as COVID-19, spread through fluids such as saliva. The fluids can often be found on the hands and in the general environment of pacifier users. As a result, demand for them may not be as strong as indicated by the forecast.
Potential market growth factors and functionalities
The functions of the smart pacifier are diverse, and all seem essential for the care of children in this time and age. The functionalities involve the consistent temperature sensing ability as the device is always found in the mouths of children. It can monitor medication dosing and reminders for the infants in question, can act as a child tracker and monitor the general state of glucose within an infant’s body. Therefore, it is clear that the smart pacifier benefits could easily outweigh the importance of the traditional pacifier to a child’s caregivers (Guedes et al., 2019). Additionally, the location sensing feature is a godsend for most parents, who often have to contend with crying babies whenever the pacifier is misplaced or unreachable.
The location sensing feature can make it easier to find the device eliminating the need for constant purchases of new pacifiers. The evolving technology will most probably increase the number of functions the small device can monitor and increase its efficiency in the lives of parents. The projected market growth for wearable devices is shown in Figure 3. The addition of functions can account for higher income for the manufacturers and the purchase of a single gadget has the potential to account for the sale of numerous traditional pacifiers (Guedes et al., 2019). Therefore, it is cushioning the producing organizations following the clear decrease in birth rates of the nation and the economic slump following COVID-19.
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The other potential economic factor that should be considered is the presence of devices that smart pacifiers are meant to replace. Their most notable function is acting as a thermometer and sending remote notifications to devices connected to them. However, due to the prevalence of infections such as the flu, most households should have a thermometer already. Families may not be interested in paying substantially more than they would for a non-electronic pacifier for the advantages of connectivity and potential monitoring. Consequently, smart pacifiers have already found adoption in North America, where the same considerations apply. The adoption of the gadget makes parents lives easier at an added cost; these essential factors are the main pillars of the projected success of the venture. In essence, there are grounds to expect that, as the model indicates, the adoption issues will not be significant. Still, as with any new technology, adoption-related possibilities should be taken into consideration.
Guedes, R. N., Almeida, A. M., & Torquato, J. C. (2019). Bubu Digital: A Low-Cost Fever-Detecting Pacifier Using the Internet of Things. IEEE Potentials, 38(2), 35-38. Web.
Office for National Statistics. (2021). Overview of the UK population: January 2021. Web.