Rights & Money

Smart Home Tech Isn’t for Everyone

Those who are on board with smart home technology want more, but almost half of Canadians aren’t interested

By Jennifer Hughes 

Photo: iStock/zhudifeng.

Smart home technology can control the lights in your home, place calls to family and friends, or find you a recipe in a flash, and since smart home devices are hands-free, voice-activated assistants, they’re far easier to use than computers or smartphones, especially for those who are physically or visually impaired. It’s no wonder then, that such devices are increasingly popular.

According to a Rakuten Canada survey, over a quarter of Canadians (27%) own at least one smart home device, and just over three quarters (78%) say they plan to buy even more within the next year. The products Canadians say they’re most likely to buy next include smart assistants such as Amazon Echo, Google Home, and Apple HomePod (55%), smart appliances (38%), lighting control systems (37%), and security systems or cameras (36%).

On the other hand are those who have yet to get on the bandwagon: nearly half (46%) of those surveyed said it was unlikely they’d be buying any smart home tech, with most of those (68%) saying that they simply don’t need it; 40% cited privacy concerns as a disincentive and 36% cited the cost. Smart home devices do have a few notable drawbacks. Since they record and store personal information, they can be hacked and used against the very households they are supposed to assist.

For those who are buying into the trend, top considerations are price (cited by 76%), quality (69%), usefulness (61%), and privacy/security (46%).

The poll was conducted online by the Toronto-based survey consultancy Ignite Lab for Rakuten Canada and questioned just over 1,000 Canadians in August 2019.