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Report Says Easy-to-Use Thermostats Vital for Market Success
Oct 7, 2003
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The growing consumer perception that programmable thermostats are complex and problematic is hampering their adoption by consumers, according to new research from Frost & Sullivan. According to the research firm, answering consumer demands for a user-friendly interface gives new market participants the opportunity to gain a competitive edge.

New analysis from the research firm reveals that this market totaled revenues worth U.S. $520.1 million in 2002 and has the potential to expand to $754.4 million by 2009.

"The basis of this challenge lies in both the design and lack of clear instructions for programming," says Sathyanarayanan.V, Frost & Sullivan research analyst. "Very few companies have seriously considered this an issue or are working to develop solutions."

Some companies, however, have attempted to address the problem, the firm said. For example, Invensys recently launched I-Series line of thermostats that incorporate menu-driven options for programming.

The demand for electronic thermostats is expected to increase as the perception of programming changes, eventually replacing the traditional electromechanical thermostats completely, according to Frost & Sullivan.

Legislations against mercury-based thermostats and rising environmental concerns about their harmful effects are driving end users toward the adoption of electronic and direct digital controls (DDC) thermostats, the firm said. The growing energy crisis is another factor adding impetus to the demand for advanced, cost-effective, and innovative thermostats, it added.

One factor that the firm believes has somewhat limited the growth of thermostats is the decline in commercial construction, which is attributed to a sluggish economy.

"However, the deceleration of new construction is proving to be a boon for retrofitting applications and is also boosting demand for advanced electronic thermostats and DDCs," explained Sathyanarayanan.

Frost & Sullivan reports that the majority of this market’s revenues come from the booming retrofitting segment and participants are looking to maximize this opportunity by exploring novel applications for re-fitted thermostats.

"With the anticipated recovery of the building industry, more opportunities will be created, ushering in a greater number of hopeful entrants while crowding the market place thus increasing competition," said Satyanarayanan.

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