Smart home technologies are becoming ever more popular and widespread in the eyes of consumers, but what is it that attracts people to invest in these technologies?
It’s not the shiny boxes and sparkly lights.
Smart tech media was awash this summer with stories of a Star Wars superfan selling a $15 million mansion including a Millennium Falcon home cinema. The flickering buttons and burnished metal conjure up a sci-fi fan’s idealised vision of the future, or possibly of a long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away.
Ask most people over the age of 18 whether this is what they dream of when they look to futuristic smart tech though, and you’ll likely get a stony-faced negative in reply.
Generally, people want the exact opposite for their smart homes. Tech needs to be hidden and seamless with panels of controls kept small and simple and rooms kept looking as they did pre-smartening. It turns out that, far from all the bleeps and flashes of sci-fi futurism, people want their homes to function better without much visible tech. We’ve even hidden televisions behind mirrors to retain a certain je ne sais quoi. Simplicity, it turns out, is the ultimate sophistication.
Function over form
Buyers fall in love with smart homes because of the experience the various functions come together to create. Smart lighting isn’t just about automatic colour changes and dimming on command. It’s the key to creating the perfect mood for a family night, dinner party or film marathon. Even the Millennium Falcon cinema is really about the experience. Find out more about the importance of experience in our blog on the subject.
The 5 big smart home selling points
While everyone automates for slightly different reasons, there are five big reasons most consumers buy a smart home.
1. Ease of use
Smart homes can make your life easy. They can automate difficult tasks, time things you might forget and intelligently learn your lifestyle to smooth out the rough parts. This is a big plus-point for stressed-out professionals and busy families, and it could be a big motivator for older people with limited mobility in the future.
You can do things you weren’t able to before. For some, this might mean turning on Return of the Jedi in your Star Wars cinema, answering the door from a different country or perfecting the maintenance of a big garden. For other older people though, it may mean living independently for longer, which is a huge boon.
For smart home tech, security has turned from a weakness to a strength in recent years. Smart CCTV, burglar alarms, doorbells and access control systems are quickly becoming must-haves for the security conscious. For many consumers, these systems are an entry point into the wider world of smart automation.
4. Energy saving
Another area where smart tech has come to the fore. As energy prices have spiralled and global climate change has become a serious issue, the ability of smart tech to offer substantial energy savings has become a big pull.
There’s that word again. As mentioned above, people want exciting new experiences and the key to selling smart home tech is to let people experience it in action. Not always an easy task, but an effective one.
For businesses and salespeople, it’s worth hitting on one or more of the above points during the sale, depending on the buyer. Busy professionals and the elderly tend to value ease of use and empowerment, while savvy young families appreciate energy savings and security. It’s also worth figuring out how you can best let prospective customers truly experience the smart home, too.
It was a rich person’s game, but now everyone is playing
Smart homes used to be exclusive investments for the rich. However, a recent survey by Statista found that the proportion of smart home tech users on low income was almost as large as the high-income segment:
- 30.1% of smart home users have a low income
- 33.2% have a mid-range income
- 36.7% have a high income.
(source: https://www.statista.com/outlook/dmo/smart-home/united-kingdom#smart-homes )
There is still a way to go before smart homes are truly diversified across the market; there are many times more mid-income consumers than high-income ones, but things are changing.
Mid- and low-income consumers are more likely to buy off-the-shelf, DIY and piecemeal smart home solutions, rather than having one designed. These offerings have in the past been notoriously buggy and difficult to synchronise and keep working, but all this is set to change…
The Matter protocol, and why it will kick-start mid-market smart home sales
Earlier in 2022, a new industry protocol called Matter was introduced to standardise smart home device communication and interaction. In short, all differently branded devices will ‘speak the same language’ and will be able to communicate easily at a basic level. This means no more updates stopping your lights from talking to your control hub and much less awkward tinkering to make systems with differently branded devices work together. It was agreed on by 200 of the industry’s biggest players, including Amazon, Apple, Google, and Samsung, and it is forecasted to kick off a revolution in mainstream smart home technology.
In the past, complete smart homes have been the exclusive domains of hobbyists and the wealthy. If you didn’t have the money to get a bespoke smart home set up and managed for you, or the tinkering time to handle the buggy value-priced tech yourself, you didn’t get a smart home. Now, home automation is set to become an easy-access option for the masses with the introduction of Matter, along with widespread 5G and optical internet to the premises.
That means huge increases in demand and opportunities for new supply in the middle market over the coming years. It also indicates that large-scale new home developments with smart capabilities may become a common sight in years to come.
In conclusion – Learn smart home selling and find yourself in demand
Those who can sell the concept will find themselves in great demand as smart homes become more and more mainstream. To find out more about selling smart homes as a developer, designer or electrical specialist, book a meeting with Andy Baker of Baker Stone today with no obligation.