Smart home devices on the rise in US


One third of US consumers own two or more smart home devices

In the US consumers are increasingly attracted to smart home devices, with one third already in possession of two or more smart pieces of kit for their abode.

New GfK research shows that nearly six in 10 (58%) of US consumers say smart home, defined as a “smart house in which most things are interconnected“, is likely to change their lives in the next few years. The level of agreement is even higher (68%) among those ages 25 to 34, but teens and young adults (18 to 24) actually scored below average (57%).

Among 11 up-and-coming digital technologies measured, consumers cited smart home as the most likely to impact them. In more detail, smart home leads the technologies and trends that consumers in the US feel will have an impact on their lives, up to 58% in 2018 from 51% in 2015. This is followed by mobile payments, at 52% this year from 49% in 2015. Wearable tech sits at 39% this year, down from 42% in 2015, and cloud computing is down at 38% in 2018, from 41% in 2015. At the bottom of the list yet rising is connected cars, at 31% this year, up from 30% in 2015.

These high expectations are rooted in hands-on experience and dollars spent. GfK found that over one quarter (27%) of US consumers have more than three smart home devices, and another 7% own two or three. Overall, half of all people GfK surveyed have at least one smart home technology with Millennials (25 to 34 years of age) ownership almost reaching two thirds (64%).

As to the type of devices being purchased, smaller format digital assistant devices sit at 21%, smart thermostats at 18%, smart coffee makers at 14%, streaming multi room audio at 14%, and smart lightbulbs at 13%.

“For consumers today, smart home is a reality, not just tech industry or marketing jargon,” said Tom Neri, commercial director for tech and durables at GfK. “Smart home devices and services are becoming part of people’s everyday lives, and the advantages of having these devices synchronise and work together are very real, in particular for home entertainment and home security systems. But while we found solid uptake and high expectations among Millennial ages, those often termed Gen Z seem less impressed or engaged; a potential challenge for the tech industry, but also understandable for an age segment not yet in its first ‘home life’ stage.”

One potential smart home roadblock that GfK identified is cross-device communication. Almost seven in ten (68%) Millennials expect devices from different vendors to “talk” to each other, a level of compatibility the industry is still working to achieve in many cases.

“If smart home devices can continue to make strides in better cross brand and cross product connectivity,” Neri said, “the standardised communication and ‘teamwork,’ stand to provide all manufacturers and service providers an upside potential, and younger consumers will likely get on board.”


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