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What consumers want from the smart home: Sophie Harding’s post-survey findings 2023

Now that the Futuresource Smart Home Consumer Survey has been published, the smart home team has compared survey results to the predictions they made in August.

The survey explored the ongoing interest and uptake of smart home devices and shed light on the decision-making process of smart home device purchasers and non-adopters. Some results matched our expectations, while others offered some surprises. The comparison is certainly thought-provoking, and highlights the differences in demands for smart home devices compared to other areas of consumer tech.  

“As a result of increased energy bills and awareness of the impact of global warming, we expect ownership for smart thermostats, lightbulbs and plugs to have grown, fuelled by consumers looking for solutions to manage home energy usage.”

The ownership of all smart home devices has grown since 2021 due to a variety of factors, reflecting sustained consumer interest. Smart climate control and thermostats saw the second largest increase, with smart lighting and plugs following closely behind.

Across the survey, respondents’ interest in the environmental benefits of smart home devices was clear. Energy efficiency was cited as the third most popular reason to invest in smart devices, and 57% claimed environmental considerations and energy efficiency were somewhat important or very important when considering smart home products.

“Aesthetic design will be a highly rated factor when choosing a smart home device.”

When asked to rank the importance of a range of smart home device features, consumers ranked aesthetic design as the least important, on average claiming it was ‘neither important nor unimportant’. A surprising result based on our initial expectations, leading to some interesting revelations.

Firstly, very few reported that they had technology in the home ‘to improve the design/decoration of my home’. By contrast, the top reasons to own home technology were ‘to enhance my experience of TV and/or movies’ and ‘to make my home a more comfortable living environment’, reported by 25% and 22% respectively. As it transpires, comfort and experience trump overall design when it comes to smart home technology.

Secondly, sustainability and usability features were another top choice for consumers, as opposed to aesthetics. Quality materials, energy efficiency, and software updates to ensure long-term device security were rated as the most desirable features, all with an average ranking of 4.1/5 in terms of importance.

“Since the pandemic and the resulting prevalence of home working, consumers have invested in smart home devices to improve work efficiency and comfort.

This prediction was reflected in our survey, with the results showing a clear trend of increased ownership in respondents who worked from home.

The survey showed working-from-home practices aligned with an increase in smart home ownership, with 52% of respondents stating they have spent more on smart home devices since working from home. 77% of those who have spent more since working from home are advanced adopters (owning 8 or more devices).

Similarly, the survey results also showed that advanced adopters are most likely to work from home full time, whereas non-adopters (not owning any smart home devices) are more likely to be working in the office full time.

Employer working from home policy and smart home adoption levels

Devices used highly within jobs when working from home were commonly devices that remotely monitor the home, like cameras, detectors and video doorbells. This is likely due to the added convenience of monitoring the home from home workers’ desks.

What else did we learn?

Despite the cost-of-living crisis creating caution among buyers, they remain curious about the smart home. Consumers are demanding value for money and proven solutions, and are less tolerant of gimmicks and connected devices with limited functionality. Awareness of the smart home market is increasing, and consumers are becoming more educated about the potential benefits of these devices. While there’s a strong opportunity for market growth, brands still face the challenge of developing solutions compelling enough to attract consumers.


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Sophie Harding

About the author

Sophie Harding

Before joining Futuresource, Sophie graduated from Bath Spa University where she achieved a first-class degree in Business and Management (Accounting). Sophie found research projects the most interesting part of her studies – she particularly enjoyed a project pertaining to the effects of developments in AI and its impact on transforming business practices.

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