Technology is completely integrated into our day-to-day existence, and in many ways, it has made life easier. We can purchase nearly anything with our phones or pay with them when our wallets get left behind. We can check to see if our house is locked and even communicate with people at the front door when we aren’t home. In 2020, the world saw a 4.5% increase in the number of smart home devices sold worldwide. These smart devices have become fundamental to our daily lives, but do they make them better?
We wanted to explore people’s interactions with smart devices, including why they use them, their benefits, and the impact varying devices have on their life. We surveyed more than 1,200 Americans to learn about their smart device usage – read on to see what we discovered.
Smart devices are found in an overwhelming majority of homes. In fact, 86% of our respondents live in a home with at least one smart device, with entertainment devices being the most common. Sixty-eight percent of those surveyed admitted to using their devices more than they initially expected to.
While people most commonly owned entertainment devices, security monitoring was the most used smart feature. A Realtor.com study showed that residents between the ages of 18 and 34 were more likely than other age groups to own a smart security system. With the increasing tech options available to them, these younger homeowners and renters could be seeking out more unique options to make them feel secure as they start living on their own away from their parents and guardians for the first time.
Our respondents also relied on their smart device for alarms and notifications, as well as using it as a news source. According to a study done by NPR, nearly 60 million Americans own a smart speaker, with 29% owning more than one. These smart speakers come with the ability to ask for news updates and set alarms using voice commands.
So, we know what features people want from their smart devices, but why use smart devices over more traditional methods? The top two benefits cited by our respondents were convenience and usefulness, with entertainment devices most likely to be described as convenient and security devices providing the most utility.
Nearly 60% of respondents found their smart devices to be more convenient than they expected, and 52% found the devices more useful. According to NPR, people learn new skills on their smart devices through trial and error or through recommendations from family and friends, leading to a realization of how much more potential their smart device can offer them.
But, while devices can be convenient or useful, what’s the return on investment? Environmental- and utilities-based smart devices – like smart thermostats – and security devices had the best ROI for our respondents. This could be due to their connection to such essential parts of our life. Or, perhaps, it could be due to the fact that homebuyers are seeking out these features in homes.
Overall, smart home devices have had a highly positive impact on the majority of our respondents’ lives. With entertainment and safety devices being most popular among those surveyed, it’s no surprise to see that smart home devices made them happier at home, as well as increased their feeling of security. Their devices also positively impacted their overall productiveness – possibly as a result of all the alarms and notifications they set.
Based on the features people used, they experienced different benefits. People who used their smart devices for entertainment were most likely to report higher rates of happiness, quality of life, and mental health. Safety features helped people feel secure in their home, while people using their device to set alarms and notifications experienced the greatest increase in productivity levels. People using their device to send messages reported a positive impact on their physical health. This could be explained by people choosing to communicate digitally instead of meeting in person during the COVID-19 pandemic.
It’s clear why 71% of respondents found their smart home devices to be more beneficial than they expected. From controlling lights to listening to music, getting the latest news, and monitoring security systems, smart home devices have allowed us to take more control over our home life.
At Frontier Communications, we provide high-speed internet on a reliable network to power all of your smart home devices. You’ll never again have to worry about losing signal to the devices that matter most to you.
For this study, we surveyed 1,292 respondents, who were selected based on their smart device ownership and usage. Among those respondents, 471 were female, 666 were male, two identified as nonbinary, and 153 were not queried regarding their gender. Our respondents ranged in age from 18 to 77 with an average age of approximately 39. The survey ran in May 2021.
To help ensure data accuracy, all respondents were required to identify and answer an attention-check question. These data rely on self-reporting, and self-reported data is susceptible to issues including, but not limited to, attribution errors, selective memory, and telescoping.
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