Home security is the primary connected-product category that initially brings smart-home shoppers into stores, retail sales associates report.
According to an exclusive new survey, the second in a series by TWICE and research partner Creative Channel Services (CCS), 59 percent of sales associates queried cited security as the first smart-home device that customers tend to purchase.
Thermostats and other connected climate-control devices ranked second at 42 percent, followed by entertainment controls at 29 percent (see charts, below).
Only 3 percent of sales staff pointed to connected kitchen products as the initial smart-home purchase, perhaps because of their big-ticket price tags. Nonetheless, appliance manufacturers are betting big that pricey Wi-Fi refrigerators, ranges and laundry pairs will become another popular entrée into the IoT.
But before home automation goes mainstream, the industry will need to clear up consumer confusion over the products and technology. According to 40 percent of sales associates, customer uncertainty is greatest concerning compatibility between their current smart devices and the ones they’re considering for purchase, while a nearly equal number (37 percent) of sales staff said getting their smart gadgets to work in concert generates the greatest amount of head-scratching among consumers.
Another barrier to entry: privacy issues. Nearly half of all associates said their smart-home customers are “extremely concerned” about personal data security, compared to only a quarter who cited cost as a chief customer concern. This jibes with a the previous TWICE/CCS consumer poll showing that 43 percent of shoppers were most concerned by potential security breaches, compared with 37 percent who cited cost.
Installation was a chief concern for less than one third of respondents in both polls.
Asked about their customers’ familiarity with connected-home brands, Nest led the pack, cited by 28 percent of associates as the name most recognized by shoppers. Samsung ranked second at 18 percent, followed by Philips at 10 percent.
The survey was conducted Aug. 24-Sept. 13 across most retail channels, including CE specialty stores, office supply stores, mobile carrier stores and big-box national chains.
Source: Creative Channel Services (CCS)/TWICE