i3 | September 13, 2021

Home Tech Installations

Steve Koenig
A blueprint with tools on top

The U.S. market for smart home technologies is projected to top $14.5 billion this year, with unit shipments topping 100 million. That’s a lot of smart speakers, door locks, doorbells, cameras and lightbulbs. Which begs the question: How will all this technology make it into consumers’ homes? New research from CTA answers this question and more, providing valuable insights on installation, service and support decisions.

CTA’s DIY and Pro Installations of Home Technology study (August 2021) found across 22 home tech products surveyed, 196 million U.S. adults plan to install at least one over the next 12 months. Many will choose to DIY (do it yourself). This statistic speaks volumes about how innovation has made installing home tech easier. For example, many home devices like smart speakers or IP addressable cameras simply need to be plugged-in and connected to a wireless network. This is also true of many multi-room audio systems today, although wired solutions using architectural speakers are still available.

That said, there are plenty of other home tech products, such as smart doorbells, thermostats, and door locks where installation requires tools, meaning a professional touch may be desired. Still other solutions like home security systems or home automation systems often mandate professional installation and set-up. 

Innovation has made installing home tech easier.

Home Tech Install

How consumers approach smart home technology installation decisions depends on several factors. When deciding on DIY installation, saving money (68%) is the biggest factor, but experience with DIY projects also matters. The study found nearly all DIYers (98%) have prior experience completing a project, with over half (56%) rating their level of experience as “good” or “extensive.” Other factors consumers weigh before tackling a DIY smart home project, include level of complexity (64%), ownership of required tools and materials (61%), and the time required to get the job done (54%).

When it comes to getting support for a home tech install project, most DIYers (76%) consult the product manual or installation instructions. However, nearly as many (72%) turn to “how to” online videos. And significantly, half of DIYers contact customer service or product support. For industry, these findings underscore the importance of multiple support options to meet DIYers where they are most comfortable. Should a DIY home technology product installation not be successful, more than half (54%) of DIYers say they are likely to resort to a professional installer, and one-third (33%) are likely to return the product to the store.

But what about those consumers who prefer to leave installation projects to the pros? To get the job done, consumers usually turn to utility service providers (36%), specialty trades such as electricians (34%) or retailer installation services like Best Buy’s Geek Squad (29%). Selecting a professional installer involves a few key considerations. Naturally, cost (74%) tops the list, but warranty for services provided is nearly (73%) as important. Time requirements and scheduling is another factor in selecting a profession installer; echoing the DIYer’s consideration for the time involved for an install project.

Some retailers offer free installation with the purchase of home technology solutions. Not surprisingly, most consumers (63%) say free installation service is an important consideration when deciding where to buy. Among consumers who have used free and paid professional installers, most (84%) noticed a difference in the quality of service with half (53%) noting that the service provided by the free installer was superior. To learn more about how consumers approach home technology installation, service and support decisions, check out the full study at CTA.tech/Research

i3 magazine September/October 2021 cover

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