It is a well-known truism that nothing succeeds like success. This maxim certainly applies to the modern smart home, where a new category of connected devices has been rapidly growing in adoption since 2014.
This phenomenon has not been accidental. Parks Associates data indicates that 88 percent of U.S. households currently have broadband access. The pervasiveness of broadband access in the typical household has created a fertile ground for connected appliances, electronics, and other smart devices. Parks reports that 34 percent of broadband households own at least one connected device, with consumers owning an average of 13 connected devices (of any type) in their home, up from 9.2 in 2016 — a dramatic 41 percent increase in less than five years.
Supercharging the smart home has been a rising desire by consumers to address and solve problems in the home. While the technical landscape of the smart home has been evolving (and continues to), new and existing homes must be “reimagined” with connected devices in mind.
Parks Associates recently engaged with GE Appliances to develop a white paper that identifies the opportunities, headwinds, triggers, and dynamics in addressing the macro smart home opportunity. Many of the white paper’s chief findings and insights conjure up a whole host of topics that smart home companies should heed in their mission to address this growing but challenging technology category.
Smart home device demographics
Parks Associates’ research has identified convenience, comfort, and peace of mind as the central factors driving adoption. These primal factors have been abetted by traditional marketing attributes like increased brand/product awareness and co-marketing partnerships (particularly in legacy industries like energy providers, insurance companies, and energy providers). The smart home space, from its origin, has always had a DIY (Do-It-Yourself) guise, with the ensuing installation and setup consequences that early adopters and fast-follower consumers are willing to accept.
Nevertheless, the overall percentage of U.S. broadband households owning three or more smart home devices increased by more than 64 percent in the past two years, up from 14 percent in 2018 to 23 percent at the end of 2020.
It is hard to argue that COVID-19 has not played a central role in the scorching growth of video doorbells, as stay-at-home consumers (increasingly working from home) found unique appeal in the ability to monitor online deliveries and observe visitors to their homes, often in a remote manner. Parks data indicates that video doorbells experienced the highest growth level — up 86 percent over the past six years — of the most popular smart home devices. Contributing to the appeal of video doorbells, especially with the rise in crime in many urban and suburban areas around the United States, is the product’s ability to facilitate the overall safety of their neighborhoods by posting crime-solved videos of nefarious activity.