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Security Alert Sounded For Q4 Smart Home Sales

Consumer distrust about the reliability of DIY home-automation products is obstructing market growth and might lead to a “challenging holiday sales season” for suppliers, a report from Argus Insights shows.

“Mainstream consumers were burned last holiday season by installation and reliability issues, and though the remaining consumers in the market overall like these products more, the issues that forced out mainstream adopters after holiday 2014 remain,” said Argus CEO John Feland.

Argus based its conclusion on an analysis of 45,000 consumer reviews from around the world written from March through August 2015. Based on the reviews, Argus found a “slow improvement in satisfaction” among home automation users. (See chart below.)

Owners of smart light bulbs and security kits/hubs exhibited the most “consumer delight,” followed by thermostats, sensors and energy monitors. Security cameras came in dead last among the products tracked.

“Products that deliver on the promise of a better life in a way that is easy to install and maintain are driving up delight metrics,” Argus said.

“As the crucial holiday season approaches, our analysis suggests that there will be fewer happy holiday shoppers purchasing products in this space. Though satisfaction is increasing, this is largely driven by more tech savvy sectors of the user population,” the company continued. “According to overall consumer feedback, there is immense room for improvement.”

In researching online comments, Argus found security cameras “consistently see the most feedback,” but the feedback “is consistently critical.” The Nest Cam, for example, “had a lackluster entrance into the already rather disappointing market of security cameras in late June of 2015.” However, “Nest Cam consumer delight has risen out of the negative range and is approaching the average level of delight for the security camera market.”

Nest Cam users report high camera quality and praise the slim design and magnetic base, but consumer satisfaction “is plagued by complaints about a lack of reliability and performance,” Argus said.  Consumers said the Nest Cam does not work well outdoors, through a window or more than 40 feet from the router; mobile notifications are unreliable; and streaming comes with major lags, Argus said.