Unpacked: Smart Home Product Ownership and Awareness

We are still clearly in the early days of the smart home. I’m reminded of this reality time and time again with many smart home research projects we are currently engaged in. I came across a private report which had a few interesting statistics on ownership and awareness of specific smart home technology.

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With similar findings to our own internal research, smart lighting remains the most owned piece of the smart home. The report points out that ownership of smart lighting products jumped 40% YoY as of March 2016, the highest of any smart home technology tracked. For reference, the study defined a smart home product as one which had a supported app or website allowing control of the product or appliance.

The gap between ownership of a smart home product and awareness is significant. We at Creative Strategies wrestle with the how and when this gap will close but, many smart home products still remain either expensive or hard to setup/install for normal consumers so we don’t see the gap closing anytime soon. We have, however, noticed a trend that consumers do not generally stop at one smart home product. Indeed, they tend to add multiple new smart home products in rapid succession after acquiring their first smart home/smart control product.

Our thesis here is consumers recognize the value and convenience of smart home control only after acquiring their first product. Once they see the value/convenience of remote or automated control of appliances, they look to connect other things. We see this as a positive trend for the smart home. It means we simply need the mainstream to acquire the gateway product. The problem is, we aren’t sure what that gateway product to the smart home will be. The data suggests it is lighting of some form which serves as the gateway to the smart home for the mainstream consumer. While I can see this being the case, I could see something else being the gateway as well. Maybe a smart speaker like the Amazon Echo or even something as simple as smart TV cable boxes like the Apple TV or Roku which begin supporting smart control features and serve as a gateway. Or there may simply not be one gateway product to the smart home.

Regardless, the point remains. Once consumers buy one smart home product, they do not usually stop there. This is the trend line we feel is positive and, as we solve some technical issues around installation for many of these products (it doesn’t require you to be contractor/electrician/plumber/etc.), then we will be confident we will close the gap between the early techies who make up the smart home market today and see the smart home capture the masses.

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Ben Bajarin

Ben Bajarin is a Principal Analyst and the head of primary research at Creative Strategies, Inc - An industry analysis, market intelligence and research firm located in Silicon Valley. His primary focus is consumer technology and market trend research and he is responsible for studying over 30 countries. Full Bio

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