Google just made a big push to own the smarthome. But it’s efforts may be in vain.
Nest, which is owned by the search giant, rolled out its new line of smart home products on Wednesday, and while the update to the devices were impressive, the company still has one big problem. Nobody seems to want a connected home.
According to a recent report from Argus Insights, consumer interest for connected home products slowed dramatically in the first half of 2015 and is continuing to fall.
In May consumer interest in smart home products dropped 15% below where it was a year ago, according to the report.
While Argus’s data is based on the volume of consumer reviews from a slew of different retailers, other data also suggests that U.S. consumers just aren’t that into the idea of home automation.
Only about 13% of U.S. households with broadband report owning at least one smart home device, according to a report published by Park Associates and the Consumer Electronic Association last year. And 62% are unfamiliar with smart home products, according to the report.
However, it’s also worth noting that while this data suggests people aren’t interested or educated about home automation devices, Google Trends — which shows what people are searching — shows that people are searching more for things like “smart home,” “smart thermostat,” and “connected home.”
“Crudely speaking, about 10% of US online adults report having and using one of these smart home gadgets. That’s been increasing gradually over the last couple of years. We think there is an early adopter interest there. But we also think it’s going to grow gradually and it’s going to be bumpy,” said Frank Gillett, a technology analyst at Forrester Research.
Part of the reason consumers haven’t fallen in love with the idea of decking out their homes in smart devices is simply because they want to make sure the cost is worth it. While all of Nest’s new products fall into competitive pricing categories, the company will still have to convince the masses that dropping a few hundred dollars here and there will pay off in the long run.
“One of the things that we hear in our qualitative surveys is people being really concerned about value. Some of them are sceptical. They don’t think they need an app for that,” Gillett said.
“But it’s definitely on the early side and people are definitely interested in small, discreet purchases rather than some kind of complex, big thing,” he added.