smart home products
Home Improvement, Making a House a Home

How Has COVID-19 Impacted Use Of Smart Home Products?

A year of pandemic life has changed how we operate — literally! Our survey explores how smart home products are fitting into our homes in a world shaped by COVID-19.

A year into COVID-19, and it’s safe to say we’ve changed how we live, work, play, learn, and…well… just about everything. But we’ve also changed how we operate — literally! A recent Homes.com survey found that almost 65% of homeowners and renters bought smart home products for their homes in response to the pandemic, with almost half of them (49%) buying smart home technology for the first time ever.

What Motivated Smart Home Technology Use During the Pandemic?

Despite widespread lockdowns and stay-at-home directives that had consumers spending more time at home, the top reason cited for purchasing smart home products was for home security (70%). Unsurprisingly, other purchases of smart home products echoed the needs brought about by quarantine life. Check out what else motivated smart home product use:

What was surprising was that almost 13% of respondents said they or someone in their household has a health condition that is aided by smart home tech. (More on this later!)

smart home products

Most Popular Products Aid Convenience and Social Distancing

The most popular smart home products spurred by the pandemic were smart speaker systems like Amazon’s Alexa (69%), followed by smart doorbell systems like Nest and Ring (53%). Makes sense to us —  you can conveniently order a pizza through your smart speaker, then keep the delivery socially distant with a doorbell camera! Genius.

Rounding out the most popular product choices to deal with pandemic life were:

smart home products

(READ MORE: 9 Futuristic Home Products to Make Your Life Better)

Security and Trust Issues Dominate Concerns About Smart Home Tech

While the pandemic led many consumers to purchase smart home products, some of them did so while holding their metaphorical noses. Almost 90% of pandemic smart tech buyers cited at least one concern with using them. Dominating these concerns was the potential for being hacked, with almost half (49%) citing it as their greatest worry, followed by identity theft (45%).

Have you ever had a conversation with your dog about something, then saw an online ad about it without having searched for it, and thought it a bit…creepy? (The ad part, not the talking-to-your-dog part, that’s totally normal.) 

If so, you’re not alone! Privacy breaches from products potentially listening in on home activities and conversations rounded out the top three concerns at 40%. Following behind were worries about products malfunctioning (32%), and making accidental purchases (27%).

Do These Concerns Mirror Reality?

It seems like those concerns over smart home products are quite justified. When we asked respondents if they’ve ever experienced the above issues, over half (55%) indicated they’ve had at least one. Tied at the top of the list were identity theft and accidental purchases, both at 31%, followed by getting hacked (just over 25%) and privacy breaches with products “listening in” (just over 24%).

smart home products

A Bright Spot for Smart Home Technology

Our survey didn’t just uncover the potential “doom and gloom” factor of smart home tech — we also wanted to explore the bright side! 

When we asked if their smart home products have ever helped them in an emergency situation at home, an overwhelming majority (77%) said yes. And remember the folks who cited medical reasons for smart home tech use? That number jumped a couple percentage points for them, coming in at 79%.

Considering the need for sharing spaces and staving off boredom during quarantine life, it comes as no surprise that the list of home spaces benefitting the most from smart home technology was dominated by living rooms/family rooms (44%). How did the rest of the house stack up?

The Simply Smarter Home Search

Wanting a dream home to update with all the fun smart home products we’ve mentioned? We’ve got you covered. Check out Homes.com’s online home search portal for current home listings, advice on how to buy, mortgage calculators and so much more!

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Audrey is the Marketing and Communications Coordinator at Homes.com, with a master's degree in strategic communication. A lifelong arts aficionado, she's also a part-time dance teacher in Virginia Beach. Wife to aerospace engineer Ryan and fur-mom to rescue pup Lucy, she's the self-declared World's Greatest Pizza Lover who lives for chocolate and a sunshine-filled day at the beach.

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