Consumers in the market for smart home technology aren’t looking to be early adopters or to be as cool as their neighbors. Rather, they are looking to make their homes safer and more comfortable.
“We already knew that homeowners prioritize safety and peace of mind, and now we know they will achieve this by adding smart home technology,” Julie Link, director of research for Scripps Networks Interactive, tells Marketing Daily. “The surprising part here is that consumers are clearly demanding home technology solutions that deliver efficiency, but also contribute to emotional satisfaction. It’s far less about collecting the latest toys and gadgets to achieve social status.”
Three-quarters of consumers cited those two qualities when shopping for smart home products, compared with only 18% who said they were looking to meet others’ expectations, according to a survey of 700 homeowners by Scripps Network Interactive. Just over two-thirds (68%) of consumers said energy efficiency, leading to cost savings or a higher resale value, was also a driving factor.
Different demographics had different motivations for adding smart technology, however. Millennials wanted to make the home more convenient, while Gen Xers wanted to make their homes more healthy. Baby Boomers, meanwhile, wanted the technology to add value to their homes. Millennials were the most likely to add smart home technology within the next year, followed by Gen Xers and Baby Boomers.
“Each generation is interested and committed to smart home technology, but for very different reasons,” Link says. “Millennials, who say the benefit is about making their home work for their lifestyle, expect hyper-customization. If they can get it exactly how they want it, then the technology will play a vital role in their household. Gen Xers’ technology preferences will reflect their personal values — creating a healthy environment in a hectic world. Boomers want to maximize their investment, so if smart home technology can benefit them in the moment and in the long-term, they are fully on board.”
Nearly half (44%) of consumers said they would like to add features such as energy-monitoring and light automation, although only 11% of respondents said they had firm plans to add them. A quarter of all the homeowners surveyed named the kitchen as their top spot to add smart technology, followed by the front door/entryway (15%) and the living room (13%).
Consumers are also wary about installing these devices themselves. More than half of the consumers surveyed said they wanted to find a professional to help them make smart home decisions. Expense, however, was still the top barrier to purchase, according to the survey.
“The findings seem to indicate the opportunity to be a trusted counselor for consumers, who are clear that they are very interested, but also very confused when it comes to home tech,” says John Dailey, senior VP of corporate ad sales for Scripps Networks Interactive. “A marketer needs to select its messaging with the different generations’ goals in mind.”