PORT WASHINGTON, N.Y. — Mobile devices, such as smartphones and tablets, and their ability to connect wirelessly have helped drive interest and awareness of home automation products and services, according to The NPD Group’s Home Automation Study. The study indicates 88 percent of mobile device owners are aware of home automation devices compared to 78 percent of consumers overall. Of those who own a network-connected home automation product, four out of five (81 percent) own a smartphone or tablet.

“Mobile connectivity has enabled products from programmable thermostats to home security systems, to be controlled remotely, thus increasing their appeal and utility,” said Ben Arnold, executive director, industry analyst, The NPD Group. “Another key part to this growing industry is the app ecosystem which allows consumers to use one device to monitor and control multiple products.”

Home automation products, while not new, haven’t gained widespread adoption; however, interest continues to build. Among all consumers, 48 percent said they were either “extremely or somewhat interested” in purchasing home automation products. Among smartphone and tablet owners, the numbers are higher, with 62 percent of consumers saying they are “extremely or somewhat interested” in purchasing.

The shift in the home automation market towards increased mobility and accessibility has also changed the consumer profile of those who own and are interested in owning these devices. According to the report, 37 percent of home automation product owners have a household income under $75,000 and a fifth of consumers who own home automation products rent their primary residence — a very different landscape than when the category first emerged several years ago.

“Five years ago, the installation and use of home automation systems required expensive equipment,” said Arnold. “Now with more affordable options and the ability to access the interfaces from anywhere at any time, we see a whole new market opening up to younger, middle-class consumers who not only own, but rent as well.”

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Publication date: 4/21/2014