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Most Commonly Owned Smart Home Device? The Security Camera.

Cameras may still reign supreme, but new market research reveals the largest smart home device sales gains are in security systems.

Half of U.S. consumers own at least one smart home device, up from 35% in January 2020, according to the latest Home Automation Ownership & Usage Report from the NPD Group, a market research company, based here.

While security cameras remain the most commonly owned smart home device, NPD’s Retail Tracking Service data reveals the largest sales gains in 2020 were seen in security systems (+44%), smart garage door openers (+21%) and smart lighting (+19%).

Security is a key motivator in smart home device purchases, and as such security cameras have been the leading volume driver for the past four years. In fact, they made up nearly one out of every four smart home device purchases at retail in 2020, the most of any device type.

However, as many consumers shifted their focus to home projects during 2020 driven by coronavirus pandemic restrictions, NPD Group data shows growth in more convenience-driven categories.

From January 2020 to October 2020 overall penetration in the smart lighting category grew from 8% to 12%, driven in part by new smart homeowners (defined as those who purchased their devices from April-September 2020). Unit sales of smart lighting also saw strong gains up 43% in 2020 compared to 17% growth in 2019.

“While the pandemic played a role in sparking interest in additional smart home categories, the challenge to continue to grow the addressable market moving forward is in part average sales prices,” says Jill Aldort, director, industry analyst for the NPD Group.

She continues, “Home automation ownership rates in households with an income of $150K+ are more than double those of under $45,000 income. As the landscape grows with new brands and new product lines from established brands, there could be opportunity for growth across a variety of categories at new price points.”

According to NPD’s Future of Tech report, smart home devices sales are forecasted to continue their growth in 2021, with sales up 9% over 2020. Some segments expected to drive the industry forward with at least twice that growth include smart locks, smart entry and smart lighting.

The NPD Group Connected Intelligence Home Automation Ownership & Usage Survey is based on consumer panel research that is said to reach over 5,000 U.S. consumers, aged 18+ from diverse regions and demographical backgrounds. The survey was fielded between Oct. 9-29, 2020.