Consumer Buying Behavior: Iris by Lowe’s Reveals Annual Smart Home Survey Results

Survey shows 57 percent of Americans prefer a DIY smart home system; Consumers rate home improvement stores as the No. 1 place to buy smart home products

Iris by Lowe’s released the results of its annual Smart Home Survey, revealing that when it comes to shopping for smart home products, home improvement stores (either in-store or online) were rated the No. 1 place Americans are most likely to buy. When asked why they would choose a home improvement store, most say it’s because it is a retailer they can trust (55 percent) that has knowledgeable staff (40 percent) and a variety of available products (48 percent).

The 2015 Smart Home Survey, conducted online in August by Harris Poll on behalf of Iris, Lowe’s Smart Home Business Unit, polled more than 2,000 U.S. adults aged 18+ and examined Americans’ attitudes toward and experiences with smart home products, homing in on the driving factors behind their purchasing and use preferences. Results from this year’s study indicate that when it comes to purchasing considerations, cost of equipment and monthly fees as a deciding factor has decreased (down from 56 percent in 2014), though it’s still the most commonly cited (43 percent). Ease of use is the second most important deciding factor (19 percent, up from 13 percent in 2014), followed by energy and efficiency features (15 percent) such as home temperature control and automated lighting. Two-thirds (66 percent) of Americans report they plan to purchase smart home products someday, with 17 percent planning to do so within the next year.

“We constantly aim to further understand the ways in which people evolve right along with smart homes. This year’s results show us the cost of smart home products is becoming less of a roadblock for consumers than in the past, and they are more inclined to purchase from retailers they can trust,” said Mick Koster, vice president and general manager of Iris Home Systems. “Insight around consumers’ attitudes toward home automation supports our year-round efforts to deliver better value with Iris and ultimately offer the best possible technology and products to help homeowners love where they live.”

Additional key findings

Consumer Shopping Habits:

  • Among Americans who plan to buy any smart home products in the next 12 months, security cameras are the No. 1 smart home product they plan to buy (56 percent).
  • Very few Americans (5 percent) consider professional home monitoring to be the most important factor in deciding whether to purchase smart home products.
  • Parents with children under the age of 18 in their home are nearly three times as likely to purchase smart home products in the next year as those without – 31 percent vs. 11 percent, respectively.

Comfort and Confusion around Home Automation

  • More than 3 in 5 Americans claim security is the top beneficial reason to own smart home products (62 percent), with Millennials ages 18-34 (71 percent) and women (66 percent) being the most likely groups to indicate this need.
  • Close to half (48 percent) say smart home products would help cut costs and save money on energy bills, and nearly 37 percent say smart home products would make their home more convenient overall.
  • More than 43 percent of Americans are comfortable with what smart home technology does for them, but less than one-third (31 percent) are happy with the pace at which smart home technology is evolving.
  • Surprisingly, Millennials ages 18-34 (38 percent) are more confused about installation of smart home products than any other age group.

IoT Battle of the Sexes:

  • Upon arriving home, men want the house to be at the perfect temperature (56 percent), lights turned on (44 percent) and doors unlocked (38 percent), while women prefer dinner would start cooking (26 percent).
  • Women are more likely than men (42 percent vs. 26 percent) to cite retailer loyalty, as the main reason they’d be most likely to buy their smart home products at home improvement stores.
  • Among those who plan to buy smart home products in the next 12 months:
    • Most women want to add security cameras (61 percent) and motion sensor (62 percent) products to their home.
    • Most men want to add lighting (56 percent).

Cross-Country Breakdown:

  • Southerners (66 percent) are more likely than those in the Midwest (59 percent) to purchase smart home products for security benefits.
  • Over half (54 percent) of smart device owners living in the Northeast wish they could adjust the thermostat from bed, while over one-third (37 percent) would want to be able to start the coffee pot.

Lowe’s was the first company to target the mass consumer market with a broad home automation solution in Iris and the first to introduce a truly open platform – allowing devices across its stores to connect with one another. Iris by Lowe’s offers a wide variety of connected devices from well-known brands, a simple user experience, value-priced products, an easy DIY system setup, free service from the day of installation, customizable rules to connect devices and more. Iris by Lowe’s was developed and designed for the consumer, using nearly 70 years of home improvement experience and input from its 15 million shoppers a week.