Where will you be when the smart home market takes off?

Where will you be when the smart home market takes off?

Smart homes are so much more than just cool gadgetry. They’re the new point of connection for consumers when it comes to combining energy efficiency, security, beauty and convenience in their homes. It’s true that the overall market for home automation has been slow to take off – but new homes and home products are being designed with wireless communication in mind, so it’s only a matter of time. The untapped potential is absolutely enormous.

That’s why, as part of this year’s Energy Pulse™ study, we polled 2,000 American consumers about their interest in smart home technology, including what they’ve purchased, how satisfied they are, what their barriers are to buying, and their gut reactions to the technology.

The result is two special reports that are must-reads if you’re in the smart home space or would like to be:

The Smart Home Gender Gap: What it is and how to bridge it, which explores what we think is the real barrier to mass market adoption,

and

Smart Home Strategies for Utilities: Five reasons you should get in the game, a look at why utilities should be offering smart home packages to their customers – and why procrastination on this front is a big mistake.

Utilities: we really can’t imagine a better opportunity for you than smart homes. In an environment where reducing energy use is becoming the norm, you’ll need a more proactive business model to stay relevant, and smart homes are a natural fit to get your customers engaged in DSM and time-of-use programs – plus provide a valuable service beyond just selling units of power. Smart homes are your manifest destiny! We’ve been hammering this point home for a few years now, and now we have numbers to back it up.

For the makers of smart apps and home-related products: have you been hyping the cool factor rather than emphasizing the end benefits? You may have lost half your audience. We were surprised to see how significant the gap was between women and men for interest in home tech, even though smart homes provide many of the benefits women clearly want. Are you ready to make this connection for them?

You’ll want to develop a smart strategy sooner rather than later. Not a day goes by that I don’t see a new article about advances in smart technology, a catalog in my mailbox offering smart products for the home or a new promo for hub devices at my local big-box store. (In fact, as you read this, the entire consumer technology world is gathered in Las Vegas at Consumer Technology Association’s CES® 2016, learning about the latest advances that will make all our homes infinitely more connected, more comfortable and more convenient.)

Interest is growing rapidly, but because marketers haven’t capitalized on making the benefits clear, the field is still wide open. (If you’re thinking that some of the big guns have already cornered the smart home market, think again – our research suggests that current smart tech users aren’t particularly likely to buy from the same company for their next smart purchase.)

That’s just one of the key insights we’ve uncovered to inform your marketing strategy – so be sure to download your special reports!

 

Suzanne Shelton

About Suzanne Shelton

Suzanne Shelton is President and CEO of Shelton Group, the nation's leading marketing agency focused exclusively on energy and the environment. Drawing on her extensive knowledge of the industry, Suzanne provides unparalleled strategic insights in her writing, research, and client work. Suzanne is a guest columnist in multiple publications and websites, such as GreenBiz.com, and she speaks at over 20 conferences a year, including ACEEE, AESP, Greenbiz Forum, and Sustainable Brands.

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1 Comment

  1. As a homebuilder who includes home automation with every home we sell (~100/yr), we’ve found that the key is to showcase how specific technology can impact a homebuyer’s life in a realistic way. We do this in our model homes. Without it, it’s all “talk”, and consumers will just see home automation as a gimmick.

    Another important point we like to make is the distinction between home automation and remote control. When you ask an average person on the street what “home automation” is, they’ll most likely say tapping a button on your smart phone to turn a light on or set your thermostat. The problem with this paradigm is that what the consumer believes is “home automation” is in fact just remote control. Home automation, as the name implies, has more to do with the controls in your home “automatically” working to meet your expectations so you don’t have to. Systems like SmartThings (which is what we include) are really great at this, and it is this automation functionality that we truly see as the reason consumers will want it in their home.

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