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Home Automation

Home Automation in Canada Set to Take Off—If Consumer Mindset Shifts

More Than a Third of Canadians Express Interest in a Connected Home, Though Ownership of Connected Devices Remains Low

Vancouver, BC – Mass adoption of connected home devices may not be too far off. Ipsos focused in on the popular topic of home automation in its latest installment of the Canadian Interactive Trends Report, a quarterly syndicated study. Looking at interest, attitudes, and behaviours toward home automation among Canadian households, the study found that significant opportunities are just around the corner, but consumers need to understand the true value of home automation first.

Current ownership of connected home components remains at niche levels (12%), but there is evidence to suggest this number is going to grow dramatically in the near future. In addition to current owners of connected devices, more than a third (38%) of online Canadians expressed interest in having a connected or automated home, and 10% of those respondents are very interested. The study found interesting demographic skews, as well. Millennials are twice as likely (53%) to be interested in connected home components than Baby Boomers (23%). Men (41%) are slightly more interested than women (34%).

“Although the connected home is still an emerging market, the results of this study show that we could be on the cusp of mass market adoption,” said Michael Rodenburgh, Executive Vice President, Western Canada, Ipsos.

Despite these interest levels, cost is the biggest barrier to adoption, as most Canadians (58%) cite high prices as the main reason they have not invested in automated home features. Willingness to spend large amounts of money on connecting their home is also fairly low. On average, those interested would spend only $638 on connected home features, which is well below the amount needed to connect multiple components in a home.

Among all online Canadians, the product type that generates the most amount of interest is smart thermostats (55%), followed by security systems (47%), and smart alarms (47%). When asked what benefits they would expect from a connected or automated home, respondents cited reduction in energy consumption and cost savings on utilities as their top two. Rounding out the top five expected benefits were peace of mind, ability to control the home when away, and instant notification of any security or safety issues.

“We haven’t seen mass market adoption yet because consumers don’t understand the real benefit of these technologies,” continued Rodenburgh. “Most consumers say savings are the biggest draw for connected home technologies. As we have seen in the past, mass adoption occurs when a need is served and lives are made easier. Marketers need to give consumers a strong reason that these technologies will bring change in their lives with more convenience and security. That will justify the price tag in their minds.”

In the study, Ipsos also measured awareness of many large players in the emerging home automation market. Interestingly, awareness is quite low. Nest and Amazon were tied for first in awareness of home automation products at 13% of online Canadians. Apple (11%) came next, followed by Phillips, D-Link, and Microsoft all coming in at 9%. Belkin (8%), Google (8%), and GE (7%) rounded out the remaining brands included in this first study.

Based on findings of an Ipsos syndicated study fielded March 4 to 14, 2016 and released in Issue 1, 2015. This online survey of 802 Canadian adults was conducted via Ipsos’ online panel. The results are based on a sample where quota sampling and weighting are employed to balance demographics and ensure that the sample's composition reflects that of the actual Canadian population according to Census data. The precision of Ipsos online surveys is measured using a Bayesian credibility interval. In this case, the survey is considered accurate to within ±3.5 percentage points had all Canadian adults been polled.

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