Realtor.com® survey: More than a third of young Americans are more interested in smart home technology due to the pandemic

A new survey from realtor.com® found that interest in smart home technology has increased since the pandemic began. A quarter (25%) of Americans said they are more interested in smart home technology now that they're spending more time at home and 41% of smart home technology owners have bought at least one device or feature since the pandemic began. These numbers were even higher for 18-34 year-olds, with 37% showing increased interest and 48% of current owners having purchased at least one device or feature since the start of the pandemic.

Realtor.com® and YouGov surveyed more than 2,000 Americans between Dec. 3-7 about their thoughts on smart home technology. More than half (57%) of all Americans and 61% of younger Americans (18-34 year-olds) already own some smart home technology. The most commonly owned products were: smart TVs (36%), smart home speakers (22%), smart doorbells (12%), robot vacuums (10%) and connected climate control systems/smart thermostats (10%).

"The survey results show that many Americans, and especially younger people, are leveraging smart home technologies to enhance their quality of life, even more so now that most of us re-shaped our homes into live, work, learn and play spaces," said realtor.com®. Senior Economist, George Ratiu. "In a year defined by a global pandemic, and fraught with civil unrest and economic volatility, it's not surprising that people are prioritizing the safety and security of their home, their finances, and having a comfortable place to relax and unwind."

Safety and security are top priorities

Survey respondents were particularly interested in technology that enhances the safety and security of their home. Specifically:

  • When asked to select just one smart home feature to add to their home, a high-tech security system ranked first (21%)
  • When choosing a smart home feature that would make a new home most desirable, two of the most popular responses were a smart doorbell with camera (36%) and a high-tech security system (34%)
  • A larger share of respondents were willing to pay more for a home with a high-tech security system (21%) and a smart doorbell with a camera (21%)
  • When asked to describe a futuristic home, 22% selected a 'fortress of safety' that can protect against climate-related challenges

Energy efficiency and environmentally-friendly features rank high

When describing a futuristic home with smart features, the most popular selection by far (35%) was a green, energy-efficient home. Further:

  • When asked which feature would make a new home more desirable, solar roof tiles (37%), a home battery pack to store solar energy (32%), and standalone solar panels (24%) were among the top responses
  • Many consumers would be willing to pay more for these green features that could have a return on investment (24%, 20%, and 17%, respectively)
  • When asked to pick just one smart home feature that would improve their current living space, a connected climate control system/smart thermostat (17%) was the second most popular choice

At-home entertainment and relaxation are more important than ever

2020 was a year with many outside stressors, which led respondents to think about their home as a place for relaxation and entertainment. As such:

  • When asked which features would make a new home more desirable, 26% said a high-tech home theater, and 18% want TVs that pop up out of dressers or drop down from the ceiling
  • Eighteen percent signaled that a sleep sanctuary with ambient sound, soothing music and a bed that automatically adjusts for the perfect night's sleep would be among the features which could most improve their current living space
  • Fifteen percent selected a high-tech massage chair, and
  • Six percent of respondents were interested in an automatic cocktail maker

—realtor.com

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