While media and tech executives peruse the latest connected gadgets and gear at CES this week, it pays to remember that non-intendees may be just as excited about the newest interactive capabilities of everything from cars to watches to fridges, but if it’s not practical, they’re not buying.
The good news for Internet of Things-related makers and platform companies is that 7 in 10 U.S. parents already have such a device — and over a third of these tech-savvy moms and dads believe that their IoT gadgets make them better parents, according to a survey of 1,359 U.S. parents (230 dads and 1,129 moms, ages 18 – 44) by parenting media company Babycenter.
On top of that, those currently own at least one such device are interested in acquiring additional connected items. The survey, which was conducted online during November and December, found that 37 percent of parents with IoT/smart devices want to buy another in the next two months.
Of the respondents who did not already have an IoT device, three-quarters said that they are interested in learning more about these “technical helpmates,” and nearly a quarter are expecting to purchase one in the next 30 to 60 days.
Keeping Home Entertainment Safe
As for the theme of practicality we noted up top: it’s worth noting the obvious point that parents are less interested in hyped IoT products like smart watches or connected cars; rather, since having kids turns even early tech adopters into homebodies, the top IoT products owned owned by couples with children tend toward making the living room and its surroundings more entertaining and safe.
The most popular IoT products, ranked in order by Babycenter:
Top IoT Devices Owned By Today’s Parents
- Smart TVs
- Internet connected TV devices
- Health/fitness tracking devices
- Smart baby/children’s toys
- Smart nursery/baby gear
- Smart home/home security devices
- Connected car
- Smart watch
- Smart speaker with virtual assistant enabled
- Baby health tracking devices
- Smart kitchen appliances
- Amazon Dash button
“When we talk to parents, we always hear how stressed they are every day. This study clearly shows that IoT devices and voice-controlled technology are making their lives easier, and at the same time, helping them feel like better parents,” said Julie Michaelson, head of Global Sales for BabyCenter. “As we move into CES this week, I’m looking forward to seeing and hearing about the latest capabilities for IoT and how we can bring them to our waiting BabyCenter community.”
What It Means For Brands
Aside from emphasizing practicality and concentrating on home and hearth, marketers can also drive parents’ interest IoT by recognizing the importance of personalization for these products.
Moms and dads with these gadgets said they would welcome personalized experiences—such as product recommendations (26 percent) and customized content from brands (25 percent)—based on data they track or content they access through their smart/IoT devices, something that bears out a recent Interactive Advertising Bureau study of consumers’ IoT habits.
Also, 54 percent of IoT-owning parents stated that they have greater confidence in content accessed on these gadgets, “if it is identified as being from an already trusted source or brand,” the survey said
The New Nannies: Siri, Alexa, Cortana, and Google Assistant
Virtual assistants like Siri, Alexa, Cortana, and Google Assistant have also rapidly attracted a wide range of consumer segments and parents are particularly enamored with the tech help.
More than a quarter of those who have tapped into digital voice assistants say they would not want to go back to life without one.
The integration between AI and humans has entered the parental mainstream, as 42 percent of device owners say that they speak to their virtual assistants like an actual person; 53 percent of those respondents also say “thank you” when talking to them, and 43 percent state that they have assigned a gender to their virtual assistant, calling it either “he” or “she.”
While a smaller percentage of parents currently access these virtual assistants through a smart speaker—such as Amazon Echo or Google Home—moms’ ownership of these devices has doubled in just the past six months.
Looking at one of the most expensive IoT items available, over a third of parents—whether smart/IoT device owners or not—say that having a connected car is an important consideration in their next auto purchase. More than half of dads stated that in-car internet connectivity is key in their decision-making.