Ikea continues to expand its lineup of Tradfri smart lighting with its first decorative bulb. What’s notable is the price. At $9.99, it significantly undercuts the comparable Philips Hue bulb which sells for $24.99.
The E26-sized (the big socket) bulb glows warm at 2200 Kelvin, and is made to resemble those vintage Edison-style filament bulbs so popular in Brooklyn haunts. It’s dimmable via the Ikea Home Smart app or an Ikea wireless dimmer (sold separately), but the company doesn’t recommend connecting it to a hardwired dimmer — same for the Hue bulb.
Generally speaking, Hue bulbs tend to offer better dimming than Ikea bulbs, characterized by smoother transitions and a greater range of illumination. But that’s gotta be super important to you when paying an extra $15 per bulb.
Ikea’s low-cost / good-enough smart bulbs pose a real threat to Signify, the owner of Philip Hue. In September, Ikea announced that customers had purchased 5 million smart bulbs and accessories during the financial year. Signify said it installed 14 million smart lights in its 2018 annual report, a number that includes both home and business installations. It’s not an exact comparison, but Philips has been selling smart lights since 2012 while Ikea’s Tradfri range just launched in 2017. And Ikea, the world’s largest furniture retailer, reported record sales this year while Signify, one of the world’s largest lighting companies, just lowered its annual outlook citing “deteriorating market conditions.”
For context, there are an estimated 26 billion “light points” worldwide and only a tiny fraction of those are smart. In other words, this battle has only begun.
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