At Ipsos we regularly apply our focus on categories undergoing significant change –that’s because the Affluent often lead the way in the adoption of innovations. In so doing, we’ve identified a group of affluent influencers – Affluencers – who are disproportionately influential. In every category we’ve studied, it’s the Affluencers who lean into the categories they’re passionate about and are the first to know about and try new products and services. Armed with expertise and experience, it’s no wonder their networks rely on them for recommendations and advice before adopting for themselves. Affluencer recommendations may be the single most powerful form of communication in any category.
In 2017, we did a deep-dive into an emerging category: Smart Home. In the ensuing two years since then, there have been a number of large category changes – many of which have affected (and expanded) aspects of distribution and access.
- Amazon’s ownership of Whole Foods is further developed (they’d completed the purchase only a couple months before we fielded our 2017 study)– providing a brick & mortar outlet to sell its digital products and services, including Echo Smart Speakers.
- The Smart Speaker category has evolved and added features (notably video) and skills that broaden its benefits and uses.
- Manufacturers have introduced smart speaker variants that are smaller and less expensive – in some cases less than $20.
Two years after our first foray, we felt it was time to do another deep dive into the category to see where Smart Home is now, and where it might be headed.