Nearly 90% users control connected home products by smartphones: GfK

Nearly 90% users control connected home products by smartphones: GfK
More people use smartphones to control connected home devices and appliances than people using smart speakers, according to a new study conducted by GfK.

GfK surveyed 1,000 Internet users in the U.S. ages 18 and older. And 89 percent of the surveyed said they use smartphones to control many home products and services. The share grew from 70 percent in 2015.

Computer is the second favored choice to control smart home devices, with 69 percent of the surveyed indicating preference.

The rest of the control devices, in order of preference, are tablet (51 percent), smart speaker (41 percent), smart TV (31 percent) and wearables (18 percent).

“Consumers – especially Millennials and Gen Z – rely on their smartphones for 24/7 access to social connections, news and much more,” said Tom Neri, Commercial Director of Tech & Durables at GfK. “So it is no surprise that people also see smartphones as Smart Home hubs, especially for the many appliances that allow controlling and viewing the home at a distance.”

The GfK finding happens to concur with the conclusion of a Pew Research Center study conducted last year, which showed that more consumers prefer to use the voice assistant on their smartphones instead of smart speakers.

Still, more than half (51 percent) of smart speaker owners say the speaker is “extremely integrated” into their everyday lives, despite the fact three-quarters of owners bought their smart speakers less than a year ago.

At a time when two-thirds (68%) of users say they want to set up smart home products themselves, the seamless integration and connection could be a plus for smart speakers, GfK pointed out.

Worries about personal privacy represent a major obstacle to adoption for smart speakers, with 35 percent of consumers citing the concern. For most other smart home categories measured, the top barrier to purchase was perceived cost.

“While consumers have some concerns over smartphone privacy and security – such as being tracked via Location Services – there is clearly greater lingering worry about the voice listening capabilities of digital home assistants (DHA),” Neri said, adding that this may be one reason why smart speakers rank below smart coffee makers and light bulbs in owner satisfaction.
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