Smart home device penetration has surpassed one out of every three U.S. consumers, according to a new report from research firm The NPD Group, with 35% of consumers stating they own at least one type of smart device across a portfolio of products. However, ownership rates vary greatly by the type of smart device, the report finds. Security cameras currently lead the pack as the most popular smart home device, owned by 15% of consumers.
Likewise, smart doorbells — also used for monitoring and security purposes — are driving the highest absolute unit volume changes year-over-year, an increase of 1.82 million units and 64% growth. Comparatively, categories outside of security are attracting less attention from consumers. For example, devices such as smart light bulbs and power — products that consumers tend to purchase as items that are convenient and “nice to have” — have fallen to low single-digit unit growth.
There continues to be a sizable income divide between consumers who own smart home devices and those who do not. In fact, ownership in the highest income households is more than double ownership in households with lower incomes. In addition, households earning $150,000-plus are more likely to own a broader portfolio of device types. These higher-income households make up just 15% of the U.S. representative population.
However, the report indicates that cost of smart home devices is not necessarily the only — or even the primary — factor driving purchase decisions, as witnessed by the fact that consumers of all income levels gravitate more to security cameras when starting their smart home collections.
“The value proposition of security cameras — providing safety for both family and home — really resonates with consumers,” says Jill Aldort, director and analyst for home automation & mobile accessories, The NPD Group. “Even as the smart home market continues to develop and other products become more readily available, consumers today are still most likely to take that first step into the smart home market with the purchase of a security camera.”