Why Are Smart Devices On Gift Lists But Not On Wish Lists?

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Here’s an interesting bit of psychology to ponder. The IoT products shoppers are buying for others may not be the same tech products they would like others to buy for them. As we mentioned in our last post, according to a telephone survey of 1,000 US adults conducted by the CTA (Consumer Technology Association), here was the list of smart home devices shoppers they were planning to purchase for others:

SMART HOME GIFT LISTS:
17% Smartwatch
15% Fitness tracker
11% Connected toy
10% Smart thermostat
10% VR headset
9%   Heart rate monitor
9%   Drone
8%   Home camera
6%   GPS sports watch
6%   Digital assistant device (like Amazon Echo)
6%   Pet-related tech
6%   Connected sports equipment
5%   Robotic vacuum
5%   Smart tracker tags
5%   Smart door lock
2%   Connected scale

But here’s the list of tech products these same survey respondents said they hoped others would buy for them:

SMART HOME WISH LISTS:
8%   Smartphone
8%   TV
7%   Tablet
5%   Videogame console
3%   Smartwatch
2%   VR headset
2%   Home robotic vacuum
2%   Portable GPS

The survey didn’t examine the reasons why the lists were different, but we can speculate.

In terms of giving gifts, product marketers are heavily pushing all of the items on the first list above, most being prominently featured in Black Friday and Cyber Monday promotions. Best Buy visibly touted “Smart Home Savings” in its Black Friday flyers, which featured an array of security cameras, lighting kits, home routers and the Amazon Echo. Online, and for Cyber Monday promos, Best Buy invited shoppers to peruse smart home selections such as security, smart lighting, smart switches, smart assistants, voice control and home alarms.

In terms of receiving gifts, respondents to the CTA survey may possibly have been early adopters and already owned some of the IoT products therefore not wanting them as gifts. More likely, like many people when considering products for themselves, they are looking for products they will actually use—and ones that don’t look like they will create more headaches than value.

The connected products sector has come a long way designing smart products with greatly improved ease of setup and use. But there is certainly more room for designers and marketers to do a better job creating and then articulating the benefits of connected products and then helping retailers amplify those messages to consumers.

We’ll all be very interested to see what actually resonated with consumers at the cash register or online cart, and how smart products ultimately fared this holiday season.