GfK research shows that nearly six-in-ten (58 per cent) of US consumers say Smart Home – defined as a “smart house in which most things are interconnected“ – is likely to change their lives in the next few years. The level of agreement is even higher (68 per cent) among those ages 25 to 34; but teens and young adults (18 to 24) actually scored just average (57 per cent).
Among 11 up-and-coming digital technologies measured, consumers cited Smart Home as the most likely to impact them. Payments were the only other emerging device or service that topped the 50 per cent mark (52 per cent). Wearables, Cloud Computing, and Connected Cars all scored between 30 per cent and 40 per cent.
These high expectations are rooted in hands-on experience and dollars spent. GfK found that over one-quarter (27 per cent) of US consumers have more than three Smart Home devices, and another 7 per cent own two or three. Overall, half of all people GfK surveyed have at least one Smart Home technology – with Millennials (25-to-34 years of age) ownership almost reaching two-thirds (64 per cent).
“For consumers today, Smart Home is a reality – not just tech industry or marketing jargon,” said Tom Neri, Commercial Director for Tech & Durables at GfK. “Smart Home devices and services are becoming part of people’s everyday lives, and the advantages of having these devices synchronize and work together are very real – in particular for home entertainment and home security systems. But while we found solid uptake and high expectations among Millennial ages, those often termed Gen Z seem less impressed or engaged – a potential challenge for the tech industry, but also understandable for an age segment not yet in its first ‘home life’ stage.”
One potential Smart Home roadblock that GfK identified is cross-device communication. Almost seven in ten (68 per cent) Millennials expect devices from different vendors to “talk” to each other – a level of compatibility the industry is still working to achieve in many cases.
“If Smart Home devices can continue to make strides in better cross brand and cross product connectivity,” Neri said, “the standardised communication and ‘teamwork,’ stand to provide all manufacturers and service providers an upside potential – and younger consumers will likely get on board.”