Digital locks have been available in the local home market since 2005, when lock maker Yale began retailing them here. However, sales only clocked up 2,000 units a year at that time. Since then, the company has recorded sales of up to 12 times that figure.
This trend is seen worldwide.
London-based analysis company IHS Markit said the access control market will increase by 6.8 per cent and exceed US$4.2 billion (S$5.9 billion) globally this year.
Access control gadgets include digital locks, electromagnetic locks for doors and radio-frequency identification (RFID) readers.
Mr Andriy Lin, 35, business development manager for Yale Singapore, told The New Paper that sales have been increasing in the last five years.
He said: "People enjoy it because even with the convenience, they don't lose security."
A digital door lock can be used on a door or a gate without a key.
Typically, users can either punch in a personal identification number (PIN) or tap an access card to unlock it.
They can cost from $200 to more than $1,000 each. Additional functions include fingerprint scanning, RFID and even Bluetooth.
AN Digital Lock, which supplies digital door locks here, sees more younger customers buying such products.
Its manager Ivan Lee, 34, said: "Young people getting new homes go crazy over high-tech products. For those who don't want to convert, I think it takes time for them to overcome the mindset that digital locks aren't as reliable, as many have been using traditional locks for many years since they were young."
igloohome,launched here last March, sells locks that can be unlocked by using a mobile application.
Miss Shermaine Koh, 30, its director of marketing and communications, said: "People are tired of forgetting their keys, having to dig through their bags or being locked out of the house.
"With smart locks, they don't have to remember to bring their keys."
Mr Tom Tan, 37, director of AA Advance 24 Hrs Locksmith, said the company receives about five to 10 calls a month regarding digital locks. It gets calls about conventional ones almost every day.
Six Housing Board flat-dwellers who installed digital door locks on their main doors said convenience was the main reason for buying them.
One of them, Mr Lester Chan, 33, a software engineer, said: "It's unlikely I'll go back to using the lock and key.
"Even my 69-year-old father-in-law finds it convenient."
But what if it malfunctions during an emergency, like a fire?
A Singapore Civil Defence Force spokesman said their firefighting vehicles are equipped with rescue equipment that can help them enter a locked unit during a fire.
Here are more information on digital locks:
- A showroom where you can view locks and bath fittings
- Factors to consider when buying a digital lock
- Digital locks are perfect for tenants with short term access
Article by Charmaine Soh, originally appeared in The New Paper.