Just as was the case in the early days of mobile, early adopters of The Internet of Things tend to be open to trying new things, even if not yet fully baked.
Much of the current market focus is on which consumers will purchase which type of smart object or wearable device, so that brands and marketers can try to stay a step or two ahead.
I just came across some new research that may shed some light on that, even before the masses wake up to IoT devices.
And if early adopters are a precursor of things to come, the hottest first smart items on a shopping list will have to do with climate control, security and audio video, based on the study.
The study comprised a survey of 2,600 of Centercode’s panel of 130,000 beta testers, almost all of whom can be considered early adopters, since they sought out and joined the beta tester community specifically to test and provide feedback on cutting edge products.
The Centercode study focused on smart home technology and viewed both smart home product owners and non-owners. Almost all (97%) of those surveyed considered their tech level to be high (48%) or medium (49%).
The company has been in the product testing business for more than 10 years but added a focus on The Internet of Things about 18 months ago, said Emily Hossellman, who runs marketing at Centercode.
Its large client list includes major brands including Fitbit, Toshiba, Yahoo, Adobe, Intel, Kodak, Honeywell, Nest, Google and GE.
Demographically, the majority (56%) of smart home product owners are 31-to-45 year old, with the average owner being 38 years old.
Of early adopters who do not have smart home technology, almost half (47%) are 26-to-40 years old.
Climate control (smart thermostats, smart air conditioning) is the leading category for early adopters, followed by security (cameras, smart locks, smart alarms) and audio visual (smart television, smart speakers). Here’s what early adopters own:
Despite being early adopters, interest in technology is not the top draw for owning smart devices. Here’s what appeals to early adopters:
One of the tidbits that surprised me in the study is that almost half (46%) of early adopters own smart lights, which is not common in other recent studies.
But a deeper analysis of the data by Centercode found that a majority (60%) of those who own smart lighting already own products from four or more categories. For example, 68% of smart lighting owners also own climate control devices.
Even though smart lighting may be among the lowest cost items, early adopters save it for near the end of their smart device purchases.
This may indicate a future pattern of how the smart home will evolve, if the mass market follows behaviors of early adopters.
And even in lighting, early adopters are looking for practical value. Here are the top reasons smart home customers look to buy lighting products as their next connected object:
Even for early adopters, components of The Internet of Things have to provide a perceived, personal value.
It’s never been just about the technology. Even for early adopters.