Whether or not you’ve made a new home purchase in recent years, you’ve likely noticed the growing number of internet-connected options seeping into the market. From Bluetooth speakers that read the weather to ovens that preheat with just a tap on a phone, smart-home devices own a growing corner of the home improvement market.
However, according to recent research by the Home Improvement Research Institute and Parks Associates, the rising adoption of smart devices has not come without setbacks.
Currently, 37% of all internet-connected homes have at least one smart-home device, and adoption is predicted to continue to rise. In fact, 43% of consumers surveyed by Parks Associates report a high intention to purchase a smart-home device. This could be attributed to falling average product prices as more low-cost options hit the (often virtual) shelves. Shoppers today have more options than ever as companies offer multiple product models at various price points with assorted styles, features and benefits.
Top buying considerations for smart-home devices include:
With the influx of new low-cost options on the market comes the reality that some devices do not meet consumers’ expectations. For some devices, half as many consumers are returning as purchasing products.
According to those surveyed, smart locks, doorbells and lightbulbs were among the products returned most frequently, and the most common reasons for returning devices in general is that they didn’t work as advertised or the homeowner had difficulty with the physical installation.
Additionally, consumers report returning smart devices due to incompatibility with other devices or brands that they already own. This leaves room for opportunity in the market for universal interoperability standards. Overall, product developers will need to work on solutions to these common issues to lower the rate of return on smart-home products.
Not only are more households purchasing smart-home devices, but those that do are purchasing a larger number of devices.
For the past five years, the number of connected and smart devices owned per household has steadily increased year over year, with the average internet household now owning 16 connected devices. The percentage of households owning three or more smart-home devices also continues to rise (27%) and now represents more than five times the number of households that own just one device (5%). While most households still own no smart-home devices at all, those who see the benefit from their first devices are clearly excited to add more.
This rapid growth of devices added to the home network can result in connectivity issues due to bandwidth limitations straining home networks. Since the pandemic, consumers report shopping more online, making video calls, ordering food online, working from home, watching videos online and playing video games.
The increase in these activities puts a higher demand on home networks, leading over one-half of wireless network owners surveyed to report internet problems over the last 12 months.
Because internet connectivity is often required for smart-home devices, loss of connectivity is the leading problem affecting owners of these devices. In fact, 50% of smart-home device owners have experienced an internet issue with one or more of their devices. Smart lightbulb, sprinkler system, smoke detector and plug owners encounter the most problems on average. When reliant on connectivity, even the least troublesome devices can cause problems for households.
Despite growing pains, the smart-home industry does not appear to be slowing down any time soon. Consumers continue to search for connected devices that make their lives and homes easier (most of the time) and more efficient.
Interested in learning more about the state of the smart-home industry, including insight into security and safety devices, energy management devices and connected health devices? Join HIRI as a member to get access to our entire research report in partnership with Parks Associates.
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