Which?: Pricey smart appliances might only last two years

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Expensive smart appliances such as dishwashers and fridges could become obsolete after as little as two years if manufacturers stop providing vital software and security updates, consumer group Which? said.

Standard appliances can last for up to 10 or 11 years, and of the consumers surveyed, 69% said they would expect smart appliances to last the same length of time.

However, “many manufacturers are failing to give clarity about the length of time their products would be supported with important security updates - without which they would potentially be rendered a security risk,” the report stated.

Smart appliances allow users to control them remotely with a phone. Without regular updates they could leave data on the owner’s home network open to hackers. This is not only a huge security risk but could be terrible for the environment if it means machines that still work will be replaced and end up in a landfill.

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The majority of manufacturers, including Samsung (BC94.L) and LG (066570.KS) said they would offer updates for “the life of the product” but did not say how long that would be. Only Miele was definitive, stating it would support its smart appliances with 10 years of security updates.

Which? also said around six in 10 people (61%) surveyed who do not already own a smart appliance said they would not consider buying one.

Natalie Hitchins, Which? head of home products and services, said: “Until manufacturers are clear and upfront about how long they will support these products for, consumers could be better off avoiding smart appliances that might turn ‘dumb’ after only a few years and stick to more reliable and significantly cheaper non-smart alternatives.”

Meanwhile, a report by Infoholic predicts that the global smart home appliances market will grow at a CAGR of around 32% in the period 2019 to 2025.

Demand is expected to increase due to several factors such as increased digitalisation, growing consumer awareness of smart hubs, rising living standards and an uptick in consumer purchasing power.