US consumer research on IoT shows privacy is a major concern

January 02, 2015 // By Graham Prophet
A consortium set up by a grouping including NXP Semiconductors to focus on Internet-of-Things topics has reported the results of a survey conducted among consumers in the USA. Findings included the fact that by 71% of Internet of Things purchases for the home are influenced by word-of-mouth or in-store referrals; and that privacy is a major concern

The Internet of Things Consortium (IoTC) comprises Greenwave Systems, August, GK Digital Media and NXP Semiconductors. Its survey on consumer attitudes towards IoT products indicates that nearly 65% of American consumers are “moderately” or “extremely” interested in adopting a smart home solution, and 71% of those consumers make smart home purchases based on word-of-mouth referrals by friends and family or recommendations made in-store by employees.

The Consortium's announcement continues;

...two-thirds of the respondents are concerned about privacy, highlighting the need for industry participants to mitigate privacy and security concerns to drive the industry forward. IoTC ... commissioned International Data Corporation (IDC) to survey 1,005 U.S. consumers, aged 18 and older, about their attitudes towards smart home product purchases.

While variables like gender and income play a role in a consumer’s willingness to purchase Internet of Things (IoT) products, those factors do not always influence their preference. The survey found that, regardless of age and gender, 54% of consumers say word-of-mouth is the number one source of information when purchasing point products and smart home solutions. Word-of-mouth influence has twice the impact of traditional information sources like TV and Internet ads. Additionally, retailers can have a significant influence over in-store buyers as 43% of those surveyed said that store employees are the second most used source.

With the growing number of consumer IoT purchases, it is clear consumers are actively seeking ways to enhance their digital lifestyle by employing smart devices to help them be more efficient and save money (44%). That said, 51% of consumers are concerned that the total cost of ownership will outweigh the benefits.