For Parents, the IoT Offers Temptations - eMarketer

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For Parents, the IoT Offers Temptations

More Than Half Say Connected Gadgets Make Life Easier

January 9, 2017

Parents are a key demographic helping to fuel the rise of the internet of things (IoT). According to a December 2016 study from BabyCenter that surveyed expectant parents and those with children under age 5, 71% of parents owned at least one IoT device. Out of these smart-gadget owning parents, 37% planned to purchase another device sometime over the next few months.

Reasons for Purchasing an Internet of Things (IoT) Device According to US Mother vs. Father Internet Users, Dec 2016 (% of respondents in each group)

Mothers and fathers may be particularly attracted to smart devices because they help them take care of their families, BabyCenter found. Among parents who own an IoT device, 36% agreed that they help improve parenting. Parents are also likely to purchase these devices because they make their lives easier, save time and give them greater control. Fathers were nearly twice as likely than mothers to say that they purchased these devices for safety and security purposes and to save money.

The number of consumer-facing IoT devices available on the market has exploded in recent years, but the study showed that certain products are favored over others among parents. BabyCenter found smart baby and children toys were the fourth most popular IoT product category among mothers and fathers, behind smart TVs, streaming devices and health and fitness trackers. Smart nursery and baby gear were in fifth place.

Speakers that offer virtual assistance, such as Amazon Echo or Google Home, are owned by just 9% of parents overall but are growing increasingly popular. According to Babycenter, the ownership rate of smart speakers among mothers has doubled in the past six months, from 4% to 8%.

BabyCenter's study showed that IoT devices have the potential for growth among those with children. Three out of four parents who do not currently own a smart device already know about them and are interested in learning more. About one-quarter of this subset of parents plan to purchase at least one IoT device within the next few months.

While IoT devices offer the promise of personalized experiences based on data collection, a minority of respondents (26%) were interested in devices recommending products based on personal history. And only one in four said they wanted brands to tailor their online content based on data tracking.

—Alison McCarthy

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