| by Abbe Will|
A first look at homeowner attitudes and behaviors around home automation trends comes from a 2015 consumer survey by The Demand Institute. According to Joint Center tabulations of this survey data, of homeowners who said they were likely to do a home improvement project in the next three years, nearly half expressed excitement to incorporate more “smart home” technology into their homes, and nearly 30 percent reported that they are somewhat or very likely to install home automation products or features. About 29 percent of homeowners likely to remodel placed high importance on their homes having the latest technology, like built-in speakers, remote-controlled thermostats, electronic window coverings, etc. Another 44 percent said having the latest home technologies was somewhat important. Yet only 16 percent said that their current home could be described as already having the latest home automation technologies, which suggests a large gap in current home automation use and interest (Figure 1).
Note: Provided examples of latest home automation technologies included built-in speakers, remote-controlled thermostats and electronic window coverings. Source: JCHS tabulations of The Demand Institute 2015 American Communities Survey: Consumer Interview data
Compared to homeowners who place little or no importance on their home having the latest automation technologies, those who place a lot of importance on home automation are younger, have higher incomes and home values, and live in more urban areas (Figure 2). These homeowners are also much more likely to be planning a home improvement project of any kind in the next three years—68 percent compared to 56 percent of those placing some importance on having the latest home technology and 44 percent for those placing little or no importance. Over half of homeowners who place a high level of importance on having high-tech homes and are likely to remodel in the coming years reported that they are somewhat or very likely to install home automation products or features (52 percent) compared to 28 percent of homeowners expressing some importance and only 10 percent of owners expressing no importance for having an automated home.
Notes: Tabulations are of responses to the following question: How important is it to you that your home has the latest technologies, like built-in speakers, remote-controlled thermostats and electronic window coverings, etc., where 1=not at all important and 10=extremely important? Very important includes rankings of 8-10, not important includes rankings of 1-3.Source: JCHS tabulations of The Demand Institute 2015 American Communities Survey: Consumer Interview data.
Although many homeowners are motivated to automate their homes, it is unclear how thoroughly they will act on their enthusiasm. According to a 2015 poll reported by The Demand Institute, homeowners may be hesitant to fully engage in home automation products and features because of high product costs, security flaws and glitches, and concerns for whether smart products will function as well as traditional home products. More research on the emerging home automation market will be shared in the forthcoming 2017 Improving America’s Housing report.