We Finally Got Our Piece of the Pie

My father once told me, there will always be research out there to prove any point you need to. “For every research report that says one thing, I will find you two that say the opposite,” he joked. That’s exactly what I was thinking of when I read the “Why Americans Are Not Buying Home Security Systems” survey posted by BestHomeSecurityCompanys.com (BHSC) earlier this week. I mean really, how much can we trust a source that can’t even spell the word “companies” correctly? I was also 100-percent certain that I could easily find two research surveys that would refute this one…but then I looked deeper into the numbers.

I’m not sure if it was short-sightedness or genius, but the BHSC survey report focused on the smallest slice of the pie — the 38.4 percent of the 1,000 consumers surveyed that said they don’t want to spend the money on a security system. That’s great news for those of you who market and sell residential security systems: that 61.6 percent of those surveyed WOULD spend the money on a security system. Ah yes, it is a great time to be an alarm dealer!

We can waste time looking at the “why” of that 38.4 percent — reasons that range from the uninformed (I live in a safe neighborhood) to the ridiculous (I don’t trust that the security system will work). But more productive, we can rejoice in the fact that there is so much home security business to be had. And, we can examine why the market continues its push upward and the best ways for us to grease the tracks toward continued growth.

This brings me to another residential security survey that crossed my desk this week — yep my Dad was definitely right. This survey, from home automation vendor iControl Networks, made a lot more sense to me. It focused on what may be the single major reason for the continuing rise in popularity of residential security systems: the smart home.

The greatest thing about home automation products and the subsequent “smart home” is that the whole thing is built on the backbone of the home security system. iControl’s research proves it: More than two-thirds of consumers (67 percent) surveyed ranked personal and family security as the number-one reason for using a smart home system; and 100 percent of the surveyed consumers responded that security is a must-have in a home automation system (Read more about this survey in my Editor’s Note in the June issue of SD&I, coming to SecurityInfoWatch next month).

The smart home has ushered in some heavyweight competition into the residential security market. AT&T just celebrated the one-year anniversary of its Digital Life service, which, with a gigantic marketing budget, is gaining momentum across the country like a snowball down a mountainside. In his exclusive interview with SecurityInfoWatch.com Editor Joel Griffin, AT&T Digital Life president Kevin Petersen pointed to consumer education as one of the biggest drivers of residential security adoption: “If you think about it, it’s not just marketing and advertising, it’s how we sell and educate in our retail stores,” he said. “I think the combination of those things has done a lot in terms of opening peoples’ eyes on what new technology is bringing to this market, what new services are available and how it works — how easy it is to use and some of the real practical, day-to-day things that (home automation) can help them do. The way we’ve chosen to advertise and market it has differentiated us, but it has also done a very good job of educating consumers and opening their eyes as to what this market is becoming and what it can do for them.”

Yes, there may be big competition, but the future’s never been brighter for the home security market. So let’s focus on the 61.6 percent and let the rest catch up later on.