A YEAR AGO is when it started, with a splurge on a wireless speaker system for our newly purchased home. Then a few months later, it was a web-enabled, tiny portable security camera—a product which, much to my annoyance, allowed my husband to access it remotely and talk to me through it. At this point, the creep factor of these products in our home was clear (pun intended).
We are now in the middle of building his “man-cave,” which has resulted in the delivery and installation of light switches that he can control from his smartphone. Living with a male tech enthusiast may be enough to explain the fascination with these new home automation products, but since I work for a consumer research company, I wanted to learn more about the most likely buyer for the wide range of smart home products now on the market.
Using data from the CivicScience InsightStore, which is our company’s platform for aggregating and analyzing poll response data from millions of consumers, a few key insights jumped out as we asked respondents in early 2015 to weigh in on their purchase interest and success predictions for the following product groups: Audio; Lighting; Climate Control; Security; and Electrical Outlets/Switches. Those insights included:
» About: half of consumers: (49%) state they have interest in purchasing any of these types of products.
» Home automation products in general are most popular in interest among those who live in the: suburbs.
» “Smart” home security products: are going to be king. Consumers most want to buy these types of products and predict that this product group will be the most popular of the categories studied.
The good news for manufacturers of any of these products (even those with lower popularity) is that there are consumer segments we identified for each who are more ideal targets. For example, women are more interested than men in climate control systems, as are followers of tech and electronics trends. Younger consumers are more likely to be interested in purchasing audio and lighting products. And even looking at data on pet ownership, dog people are more likely to favor electrical switches and cat people prefer audio products.
And while 51% of consumers say they have no interest in any of these products, that doesn’t stop them from predicting which will be most popular. Among the 74% who made a prediction, home security is the runaway leader here too, capturing 57% of popularity predictions. And, although 14% think smart climate control will be widely popular, only 8% say they are interested in buying these types of products. The rest of the popularity prediction rankings look nearly identical in pattern-to-purchase interest.
Also notable is that the wide price variation across these smart home product groups doesn’t seem to correlate to consumer interest or predictions or market success. Take the typical price point of a single Dropcam brand wireless surveillance camera ($199) compared to a smart dimmer switch ($49.99) as one example. Perhaps the security offerings are seen as having more explicit benefit despite the higher price point.
This will be an exciting category to watch, thanks to the prevalence of smartphone ownership (CivicScience data in April 2015 shows 65% of U.S. adults use a smartphone). The ability to control aspects of a home’s physical operation is only an app and a purchase away. I can feel my own home’s IQ rising by the day.
About the CivicScience Methodology
CivicScience collects real-time consumer research data via polling applications that run on hundreds of U.S. publisher websites. Respondents answer voluntarily and are kept anonymous.: Respondents for this report were weighted for U.S. Census representativeness for gender and age, 18 years and older, and data was collected from January 19, 2015 to February 9, 2015. To view the full, detailed report, please visit: http://civicscience.com/library/insightreports/insight-report-home-automation-products. EH
Jennifer Sikora is vice president of Market Insights at CivicScience.