In just a few months, the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) will kick off in Las Vegas to debut new gadgets, theories, and ideas about technology now and in the future. One of the major categories at CES 2024 will be “smart homes,” a concept growing in intrigue as AI-powered devices and applications become prevalent.
While the state of home technology isn’t quite at the point of Disney’s 1999 movie “Smart House,” interconnected and intelligent appliances are already improving, simplifying, and enhancing how consumers live.
CivicScience polling shows that, in total, 36% of U.S. adults intends to buy a new appliance in the next 6-12 months (n=5,713). Among potential buyers, the most likely home appliance purchases in this time frame are fridges (31%), washers and dryers (30%), and microwaves (28%). One of the more niche laundry appliances is the steam closet. Although not one of the top appliances to be purchased in the next 6-12 months, 9% of consumers plan to purchase a steam closet.
How many of these purchases are likely to be smart appliances? When looking at smart home appliances specifically, the data show close to one-quarter (22%) of the Gen Pop are at least ‘somewhat likely’ to plan to purchase one in the next six months, however just 5% are ‘very likely.’
Is a Smart Home Really That Appealing to Consumers?
At this time, 18% of U.S. adults say controlling major appliances from a smartphone or tablet (a common capability of smart appliances) is important to them. The remaining 82% of consumers don’t find this accessibility and convenience as valuable (n=3,273).
Younger generations place significant value on controlling appliances from their personal devices, much more so than older generations, specifically those aged 35 and older. Adult consumers under 35 aren’t necessarily looking to buy a smart appliance any more than other age groups, but more than 30% of younger consumers (18-35) are likely to purchase a residential property within the next year. For those working in the real estate market, it is important to note that Gen Z and Millennial home buyers might appreciate a property if the appliances are not only updated but offer wi-fi connection.
What Consumers Look for When Buying Home Appliances
Most home appliances cost anywhere from several hundred to several thousand dollars to replace or add to a home, so when shopping for a major appliance, a consumer’s first consideration is price. After price, 56% consider the brand of the appliance and 46% consider energy efficiency. Energy efficiency is an important feature on many new appliance models because of potential long-term cost savings, but consumers have trouble seeing past the initial price tag to the cost savings of years to come.
Two major brands making smart appliances share similar levels of favorability among consumers: LG Electronics (56% favorability) and Samsung (61% favorability). These smart appliance brands recently committed to working together to make their new tech easier to use. While Samsung is more favorable among the Gen Pop, likelihood to purchase a smart appliance in the next six months is slightly higher among LG fans.
Data Privacy in Smart Homes
With software-based devices comes security risks and privacy concerns. Consumers are constantly hearing about weak security or poor privacy practices of items they use every day. When asked about trust in smart home appliances, 8% of U.S. adults express high trust in appliances to protect their privacy, but 64% say they have little to no trust in these appliances. Younger generations are significantly more likely than older generations to have faith in the privacy practices of their smart home. Gen Z is twice as trusting as the Gen Pop and four times as trusting as people over 35.
At this point, smart home technology appears to be a lifestyle choice. Older generations are content living with household appliances as they are, but younger generations want a more interconnected, intelligent home. With price being the number one concern for anyone buying a home appliance, it’s likely that age will ultimately determine how much a consumer is willing to pay for a new major addition to kitchen or home.
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