NewYork, 06.06.2018

Over half of US consumers prefer DIY approach to Smart Home technology

In GfK study, younger generations increasingly opt for self-installation, self-service

In the drive to take Smart Home technology to new levels of acceptance, a fresh force is making itself felt: consumers who endorse a DIY approach to smart devices.

In recent GfK research, more than half (52%) of consumers said they prefer to install their own Smart Home products – up from 43% in 2015. And 57% say they want to maintain these devices themselves, compared to 51% three years ago.

In both cases, nearly all of the study-to-study increase has been driven by consumers who have a strong preference for DIY. (See Table 1.)

Table 1. Self-installation & self-maintenance of smart home tech  

Agree stronglyAgree stronglyAgree slightlyAgree slightly

Prefer self-install
Prefer self-maintain20%25%31%32%

 The growth of a DIY preference for Smart Home installs is also largely associated with age; among younger consumers (up to age 44), the desire to install their own devices and services has grown between 10 and 19 percentage points. (See Table 2.)

  Table 2. Prefer to self-install Smart Home products – by age group






2015 / 2018 (% points)






This increasing DIY preference among Smart Home consumers also raises the stakes for manufacturers and service providers. Almost two-thirds (62%) of those surveyed in 2018 said they expect devices from different vendors to be able to communicate with each other, with the highest levels among the 25-to-34 (68%) and 35-to-44 (72%) age groups.

“We cannot say right now if the desire for self-sufficiency is driven by cost or a true independent streak – but it is definitely a marketplace force to be reckoned with,” said Tom Neri, Commercial Director for Tech & Durables at GfK. “Device makers and service providers alike need to work harder to collaborate and pave the way for seamless installation and service; reflexive siloed behavior will only drag down acceptance and yield poor word of mouth from amateur technicians. That said, there does exist a segment of consumers, skewing older, that would be responsive to an install and maintenance service support offering for Smart Home products.” 

GfK’s findings are based on 1,000 online interviews with US consumers; the sample has been balanced by age, gender, and region. Surveys were completed on smartphones, tablets, laptops, and PCs.

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