I recently attended Parks Associates' Connections 2015 conference, where the research company presented a rosy outlook for the Smart / Connected Home market. Parks' Director of Research for Home Controls and Energy Tom Kerber's recent blog post echoed some of the key take-aways of the conference, which are presented in the graph below.
Parks Associates - Smart Home Purchase Outlook
So I was surprised by the sharply contrasting view described in an Argus Insights press release that came out shortly after the conference wrapped up. According to Argus, the graph below shows "that as of May 2015, consumer demand for connected home devices such as thermostats, lightbulbs, locks, sensors and cameras experienced its first drop below the level of a year ago, a sign that consumer interest is stagnating".
Argus Insights - Change in Connected Home Demand
So which view is correct? After following up with both companies, I think the difference comes from the research methodologies. Parks Associates uses detailed surveys with consumers to judge market trends, while Argus "continuously monitors and analyzes millions of consumer touch points" to form its view. In other words, Parks asks consumers what they plan to do while Argus measures consumers' actual experience with purchased products.
Argus does this by scraping online consumer reviews to measure review volume and sentiment. Since consumer reviews are notorious for containing fake posts, Argus says it uses proprietary methods to scrub the data.
So is Parks right and Argus wrong? All I can say is that Argus' view more closely aligns to my own. I failed to find evidence of any Smart Home "killer app" at the Connections conference and even the Parks Associates analysts I spoke with said they didn't see one, either. It's also odd that Parks' Outlook graph above doesn't contain security / network cameras, which Argus says is the hottest Smart Home category right now, even with declining consumer interest in Smart Home devices.
Argus Insights - Smart Home Consumer Feedback Declining
If you have any insight to provide, let us know in the Forums.