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GfK Survey Reveals Consumer Smart Home Preferences

GfK, a research and analytics group, recently conducted an online survey of 1,000 U.S. consumers considering smart home products, which revealed a push towards do-it-yourself installation.

According to the survey, 52% of consumers said they prefer to install their own smart home products, up from 43% in 2015In addition, 57% said they want to maintain these devices themselves, compared to 51% three years ago. In both cases, nearly all of the study-to-study increase has been driven by consumers who have a strong preference for DIY, according to GfK.

The growth of a DIY preference for smart home installs is also largely associated with age, the survey found. Among younger consumers, up to age 44, the desire to install their own devices and services has grown between 10 and 19 percentage points.

This increasing DIY preference among smart home consumers also raises the stakes for manufacturers and service providers. Almost two-thirds, 62%, of those surveyed in 2018 said they expect devices from different vendors to be able to communicate with each other, with the highest levels among the 25 to 34 and 35 to 44 age groups, 68% and 72% respectively.

“We cannot say right now if the desire for self-sufficiency is driven by cost or a true independent streak, but it is definitely a marketplace force to be reckoned with,” said Tom Neri, commercial director for tech and durables at GfK. “Device makers and service providers alike need to work harder to collaborate and pave the way for seamless installation and service; reflexive siloed behavior will only drag down acceptance and yield poor word of mouth from amateur technicians. That said, there does exist a segment of consumers, skewing older, that would be responsive to an install and maintenance service support offering for smart home products.”