Smart home technologies have passed the consumer awareness hurdle and now must show how they can make consumers’ lives better.
In a new consumer research survey from PlumChoice and the Z-Wave Alliance, 97% of consumers in 2016 knew what smart devices were, compared with 67% in 2015. Additionally, nearly 80% of consumers said they own at least one smart device (and the majority of them own four to six devices).
“In 2016, there was a tentative nature to the market,” Noelani McGadden, vice president of IoT at PlumChoice, tells Marketing Daily. “As consumers are moving beyond the early adoption phase, they’re finding there’s not just one manufacturer that’s going to satisfy all their device needs.”
The smart home category is still projected to grow, with more than half (52%) of the survey’s respondents planning to buy a smart device in the next two years (among those who already own devices, 84% said they plan to buy another within the next two years).
“Consumers are feeling that brands don’t help them overcome interconnectability,” McGadden says. “If a brand is unlikely to help with interconnectability, they’re less likely to buy from that brand again.”
Moving forward, it will be incumbent on smart home device manufacturers — even wireless and Internet providers — to showcase how all of these products work together, McGadden says. Among those who own multiple smart devices, 61% have connected them to work together. Ease of use is a key deciding factor when it comes to brand loyalty: 86% of consumers said a brand’s ability (or inability) to provide assistance affects their propensity to use that brand again, while 92% said they’re more loyal to brand that will help with purchasing, installation, setup and troubleshooting products (up from 71% the previous year), according to the study.
“Brands can own [the entire] experience,” McGadden says. “They can help the consumer not just on buying [devices], but over the entire product lifecycle.”