Smart Home Technology Faces Adoption Challenges

Tech companies big and small are recognizing that the market for smart home solutions is promising, according to a new report from ReportLinker, but consumers are still not fully convinced.

Although prices of the devices have fallen over the past few years to where they are now within reach of most consumers, a third of Americans in the ReportLinker survey said they’re not comfortable with smart technology, which could hinder adoption. Nearly six in 10 respondents still don’t have any home automation, while 41 percent of consumers already own some smart home devices.

Those who own them tend to own more than one device (3.4 on average). Half have one or two devices installed, while a third have five or more. These include connected appliances (20 percent), smart thermostats (16 percent), smart security systems (12 percent) and smart lighting solutions (10 percent).

For users of smart home solutions, the most popular way (48 percent) to interact with their devices is through mobile apps, while 17 percent use wall-mounted terminals. Consumers can also manage devices through smart home hubs, such as Samsung SmartThings, Amazon Echo, and Google Home. However, ReportLinker found that just 9 percent of respondents use such hubs. 

Both Google and Amazon promoted their voice assistants heavily over the holiday season, so it’s not surprising that the adoption rate of these devices is relatively high. More than a third of respondents to the ReportLinker survey have purchased a voice assistant, and the most popular uses are playing music or videos (63 percent), getting the weather report (47 percent), or listening to the news (32 percent). Other uses include control smart home devices (28 percent), and to find information about products or services (26 percent).

But with these voice assistants, adoption is also a challenge. Sixty-six percent of consumers told ReportLinker they don't currently have one and are unlikely to buy one in the near future. However, women are far more interested than men, with 42 percent saying they are likely to buy one, compared to 76 percent of men who say they are not interested.

Here, too, though, usage is mixed. Among people who keep their devices continually connected to the internet, 71 percent use their voice assistants fewer than three times a day. However, tech-addicted respondents tend to use them more more than six times a day.

While it might take some time for consumers to become comfortable with the smart home, ReportLinker says the concept is no longer futuristic or unaffordable. As manufacturers sharpen their marketing pitch, more consumers are likely to embrace smart home technology for its convenience and cost savings, the firm concluded.

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