GenXers Outspend Millennials on Smart Devices

by | May 2, 2017

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Generation Xers, the 51 million Americans who were born between 1965 and 1980 – personified by such familiar names as President Barak Obama and Jennifer Lopez – are much more likely to spend their money on smart home devices than are the 75 million Millennials, born between 1981 and 2000, according to coverage of a new report on April 30 by MediaPost.

Conducted by BI Intelligence, the study asked 650 Generation X and Millennial consumers which smart home devices they had purchased to date.

The researchers found that the older consumers owned more digital voice assistants, connected thermostats and smart appliances. Indeed, among the Generation X respondents, the percentile of who owned specific intelligent devices was found to be:

  • 30% — Amazon Echo
  • 17% — Smart light bulb
  • 17% — Connected thermostat
  • 13% — Connected security system
  • 12% — Smart appliance
  • 5% — Google Home

By contrast, ownership by Millennials was lower for each smart device, as follows: 21% — Amazon Echo

  • 13% — Smart light bulb
  • 10% — Connected thermostat
  • 8% — Smart appliance
  • 6% — Connected security system
  • 3% — Google Home

The rationale for the difference in interest and likelihood of purchase may be simple. The researchers suggested that the reason why Echo speakers and smart light bulbs were identified among the most popular items may have to do with price, since both are relatively inexpensive, according to BI Intelligence. For example, the Amazon Echo Dot, the smaller Echo device, is $49.99; while a smart light bulb can be purchased for $19.99.

Despite the sophistication of the technology and the associated marketing, it still may come down to the traditional cost-benefit ratio. As prices come down over time, it remains to be seen if that creates enough of a draw for those with less disposable income, MediaPost reported.

The other obvious issue is that smart devices need to provide a tangible value, such as the ability of a smart thermostat to help the homeowner save on heating and cooling.

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