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Survey: Pandemic Increased Buyers’ Interest in Smart Homes

Americans stuck inside for the last nine months want more from their homes, with 1 in 4 more interested in smart technology than they were before the pandemic started.

SANTA CLARA, Calif. – Interest in smart home technology increased during the pandemic, according to a survey from realtor.com and YouGov. One in four Americans (25%) said they’re more interested in smart home technology now that they’re spending more time at home, and 41% of smart-home technology owners bought at least one device or feature since the pandemic began.

The numbers are even higher for 18-34-year-olds: 37% showed increased interest and 48% of current owners purchased at least one new device or feature since the pandemic started.

The survey, conducted Dec. 3-7, found that 57% of all Americans and 61% of younger Americans (18-34-year-olds) already own some smart-home technology. The most commonly owned products are smart TVs (36%), smart home speakers (22%), smart doorbells (12%), robot vacuums (10%) and connected climate control systems/smart thermostats (10%).

“The survey results show that many Americans, and especially younger people, are leveraging smart home technologies to enhance their quality of life, even more so now that most of us re-shaped our homes into live, work, learn and play spaces,” says realtor.com Senior Economist George Ratiu. “In a year defined by a global pandemic and fraught with civil unrest and economic volatility, it’s not surprising that people are prioritizing the safety and security of their home, their finances, and having a comfortable place to relax and unwind.”

Top smart-home priorities: security

  • When asked to select just one smart home feature to add to their home, a high-tech security system ranked first (21%)
  • When choosing a smart home feature that would make a new home most desirable, two of the most popular responses were a smart doorbell with camera (36%) and high-tech security system (34%)
  • A larger share of respondents was willing to pay more for a home with a high-tech security system (21%) and a smart doorbell with a camera (21%)
  • When asked to describe a futuristic home, 22% selected a “fortress of safety” that can protect against climate-related challenges

Top smart-home priorities: features

  • When describing a futuristic home with smart features, the most popular selection (35%) was a green, energy-efficient home
  • When asked which feature would make a new home more desirable, the top responses include solar roof tiles (37%), a home battery pack to store solar energy (32%) and standalone solar panels (24%)
  • Many consumers are willing to pay more for these green features that could have a return on investment – including solar roof tiles (24%), a home battery pack (20%) and standalone solar panels (17%)
  • When asked to pick just one smart home feature that would improve their current living space, a connected climate control system/smart thermostat (17%) was the second most popular choice

Top smart-home priorities: entertainment and relaxation

  • When asked which features would make a new home more desirable, 26% said a high-tech home theater, and 18% want TVs that pop up out of dressers or drop down from the ceiling
  • 18% wanted a sleep sanctuary with ambient sound, soothing music and a bed that automatically adjusts for the perfect night’s sleep
  • 15% selected a high-tech massage chair
  • 6% like the idea of an automatic cocktail maker

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