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Smart locks: Taking a closer look at trends and growth drivers

Smart locks: Taking a closer look at trends and growth drivers
Compared to conventional mechanical locks, smart locks give users more ease and convenience when they open doors. This article takes a closer look at smart locks – what are their benefits and what’s driving their growth.
More and more, smart locks are seen in houses and residential buildings. Compared to conventional mechanical locks, smart locks give users more ease and convenience when they open doors. This article takes a closer look at smart locks – what are their benefits and what’s driving their growth.
A smart lock is an electronic locking device that is usually affixed to the door and is powered by batteries. It unlocks after being presented with an authenticator, be it a keyfob, passcode or biometric. To open the door, the user just needs to place their keyfob/finger on the smart lock, or enter the passcode on the keypad display of the lock. This has various benefits. Security-wise, smart locks eliminate the need for physical keys, which can be lost or duplicated. Also, in the event of the user being locked out, they can reenter by pressing the passcode or by the touch of a finger.

Continued growth expected

The smart lock market has been growing due to various growth drivers. “I estimate about 30 million to 40 million smart locks will be sold each year through 2027. Smart lock units year-to-year growth is in the range of 8 to 10 percent, and smart lock revenue growth is in the range of 5 to 7 percent,” said Jack Narcotta, Principal Analyst for Smart Home at Omdia. “The most important factor in smart lock market growth is the US interactive security market. New subscribers and upgrades earned by residential security providers such as ADT,, SimpliSafe, and Vivint often feature smart locks as a prominent piece of home automation solutions.”
For the most part, smart locks are purchased by consumers owning single-family homes and are less common in multi-dwelling units (MDUs).
“In MDUs, smart locks are far less frequent as these buildings typically have a common area, or lobby, or foyer that serves as the main entrance for the building. MDUs will often have a commercial grade access control system installed and do not often use consumer grade smart locks. For residents, MDUs typically utilize a keycard system similar to those installed in hotels and other buildings used for temporary/short-term housing,” Narcotta said.
In terms of distribution, smart locks usually go through SIs, as most smart lock installations benefit from professional expertise. “While most brands are doing a better job making it easier for consumers to install a smart lock themselves, there is still a long way to go. This is especially true in Europe where there are many more unique door types than the US, which makes it difficult for smart lock companies to figure out an overarching go-to-market strategy that will stoke consumer demand,” Narcotta said.

Top features

As opposed to mechanical locks, smart locks allow users to do more than just opening doors. Below we look at some of the main features in smart locks today and new innovations that may come later.


Right now, fingerprint is still the dominant biometric for smart locks. Contactless technologies have some potential, but certain challenges need to be addressed.
“Lockly’s Visage announced at CES 2024 is one of the first consumer smart lock to use facial recognition to unlock, and companies are tinkering with other ideas to make it easier for a lock to authenticate a user. At CES 2024, Philips unveiled a Wi-Fi smart lock that reads a consumer’s palm print,” Narcotta said.
He adds: “Both of these are extremely new technologies, and I am not confident if they have enough staying power to unseat fingerprints/thumbprints as the default biometric input for smart locks. Our consumer survey results show consumers are wary of input methods beyond fingerprints as they view them as too invasive to their privacy. Contactless operation for smart locks is on the horizon, albeit at least five to six years away at the earliest.”


Smart locks today can be integrated with various smart home devices and can be controlled with voice commands. “Nearly all smart locks sold to consumers today are compatible with Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant, and as such smart locks can be controlled by app or voice commands to an Amazon Alexa- or Google Assistant-powered smart speaker or other device,” Narcotta said.
He adds that on paper, Matter, an IP-based connectivity protocol by Connectivity Standards Alliance, will help smart locks play a larger role in the smart home, though CSA is behind schedule with regards to rolling out Matter to the major smart lock brands, such as the brands owned by ASSA ABLOY and Allegion.

Remote opening

Some smart locks support remote locking and unlocking capabilities so that, in case the user forgot to lock the door, they can do so remotely via their smart device. Or, if a known guest shows up and wants to get in, the user can unlock the door remotely for them. In this regard, CSA has unveil Aliro, a new initiative aimed at transforming how users unlock doors or other entry points using their mobile device or wearable.
“Aliro, will eventually help standardize or streamline the way(s) smart locks are used; however, Aliro is, by the CSA’s own admission, several years away from becoming a mainstream technology. In 2024, there are no demonstrably new ways to remotely unlock or lock doors available to consumers,” Narcotta said.


According to Narcotta, smart lock’s biggest challenges are its per-unit pricing and installation. “Smart locks carry the largest ‘smart tax’ in the smart home device market, often costing 15 to 20 times more than a conventional deadbolt. The huge price difference makes it very difficult for consumers to justify the purported convenience, especially considering the additional fees often required to have the lock professionally installed,” he said.
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