Age Plays a Role in Consumer Expectations about Connected Home Technologies
According to a Gartner report, by 2022 a typical family could own more than 500 connected devices in their home. Regardless of how precise or optimistic these predictions may be, it cannot be denied that connected home technologies are gradually becoming a reality in our daily lives. Until now, due to the nascent market, it was just early adopters who were taking the plunge into the connected living space and exploring its endless possibilities. But as consumer awareness grows, more people are beginning to become interested in remotely connected devices and what they have to offer, especially in those countries where smart technologies have already been around for a while.
However, the Internet of Things provides a very varied tapestry of possibilities in the home, and the advantages of connected living do not appeal the same way to all. Depending of the age group, consumer interest in connected living technologies can vary a lot, according to their daily living needs. Both a 28 year old millennial and a 78 retiree senior may be greatly interested in connected home devices, but they are not interested in the same things. And though interests do vary within these groups across regions and socio-economic factors, some major trends can be outlined. This may help service providers and vendors adjust accordingly when preparing an offering for a specific target age.
In a recent comprehensive survey conducted by Essence we concluded that consumers aged 25-35, see their home as an expression of themselves and their lifestyle. They invest in their home and seek for ways to manage it better. This group places strong value on well-designed innovative technology products with leading capabilities, and see them as the greater convenience they provide.
Experts believe that Millennials (consumers aged 18-30), which may characterized as a renters segment, may be a ripe market for less expensive, highly portable, standalone devices instead of highly integrated ones. Eventually, when millennials become homeowners, the focus will probably shift towards home security.
This is precisely the case with adults —who place the focus on security features and energy saving—, especially parents with children under the age of 18 living at home, who are nearly three times as likely to purchase smart home products in the next year as those without, especially those related to home security. Logically, the 35-44 year old group includes many homeowners, so their main concerns are not so much about convenience as about keeping their home and their family safe, while also trying to save money on the electricity bill. Climate control, smart outlets and home security are more popular than average among this age group.
A survey conducted by Strategy Analytics (March 2013) found that Consumers over 55, with above average income are highly invested in their homes and in making updates and improvements (over 75%); they are also willing to pay for convenience and higher quality products and services and have a high status orientation around their homes. In fact, more than 80% of this age group believes greater convenience is worth paying for and nearly all of them are willing to pay more to get higher quality products and services. The upper region of this age-group are seniors who may be living alone and are interested in technologies that allow them to age independently and safely at home
The adoption and use of connected living solutions varies greatly depending on the age group: while millennials aim for convenience, older adults expect home security and energy savings, especially those with younger children at home. Seniors, on the other hand, are more interested in safety and healthcare features. Different stages in life require different approaches to consumer expectations regarding connected living technologies, and offer service providers clearly differentiated markets to target which they can specialize, to differentiate themselves from competitors.
Expectations change with age and circumstances, but smart tech can appeal to all consumer groups when marketed according to what they really want and need, offering service providers a unique opportunity for differentiation.
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