Technology is something most of us can’t imagine living without. From voice-activated assistants that control our lights and thermostats to smart refrigerators that keep us informed about our grocery needs, these devices have infiltrated the home and made themselves indispensable.
In many cases, smart tech makes life easier, but some homeowners are growing increasingly skeptical about how this technology may be infringing on their privacy. Here at CraftJack, we wanted to see how Americans feel about these devices in their homes. Do people feel like their smart tech makes their homes safer? Or does it open them up to scams or identity theft?
Smart Tech: Top Devices Americans Fear Will Be Hacked
Americans have a healthy amount of paranoia when it comes to the internet-enabled smart tech in their homes. The survey revealed 1 in 3 respondents worry about their devices being hacked. And for the 42% of Americans who use cameras to monitor their homes, 1 in 4 worries a hacker could gain access and see inside.
There are some devices Americans worry about more than others. Amazon’s Echo speaker, which can be controlled by voice commands with the virtual assistant Alexa, topped the list of devices Americans worry could be hacked. Security cameras, Google’s Nest, doorbells and smart TVs round out the top 5. Interestingly, 4 of these 5 also made the list of tech Americans refuse to have in their home over privacy concerns.
Most concerning is that nearly 3 in 4 Americans have no idea how to check and see whether their smart devices have been hacked.
Americans’ Fears Over Smart Tech “Spying”
The boundaries between convenience and privacy are becoming even more blurred. There is a widespread belief that these smart devices may be “spying.” We found that 76% of Americans believe the smart devices in their home are, in some way, "listening" to them. What’s more, 61% of respondents are convinced their devices are always eavesdropping.
For many, confirmation of these fears comes in the form of targeted advertisements on their phones. Nearly two-thirds report receiving ads after talking about something near one of their smart devices. Some are so worried that they’ve taken steps to protect their privacy: 1 in 3 have turned off a device for fear of being listened to or tracked.
But who are Americans most concerned about listening in on their conversations? A considerable 35% are most worried about hackers and cybercriminals. Additionally, 15% expressed skepticism about the U.S. government's potential surveillance through these devices, while 16% are wary of advertisers looking to capitalize on their conversations.
When it comes to the security of personal information, there are varying levels of comfort when it comes to using the cloud. Cloud storage uses remote servers to save data that people can access with an internet connection. When we asked if people use the cloud to store information 37% said yes, 36% said no and another 37% didn’t know.
America’s Favorite Smart Tech Devices
Despite privacy concerns, Americans love the devices in their homes. 32% of Americans have six or more smart tech gadgets! When it comes to favorite devices, smart TVs top the list. 63% of respondents said they have a smart TV in their home. Other popular tech includes the Amazon Echo device, smart doorbells, lights and security cameras.
Americans said these devices make life easier. The top reason for using smart tech in the home is convenience (60%), followed by having a better overall living experience (42%) and ease of voice activation (36%). Amazon’s voice assistant Alexa is the most popular (58%), followed by Google Assistant (32%) and Apple’s Siri (29%). So, what are Americans asking these voice assistants to do? The most popular command is “Set a timer,” followed by “Play a song” and “What’s the weather?”
This love affair does come at a price. Americans have spent an average of $792 on smart tech devices for their homes, and invest $125 monthly on smart tech subscriptions. However, it's important to note that 44% of respondents find it hard to afford smart home technology.
Beyond the numbers, it's clear smart tech has infiltrated home life in America, extending beyond mere convenience to a sense of security. Over half of the respondents (53%) report feeling safer in their homes because of these devices and a resounding 55% said they would never go back to living in a house without smart tech. Despite the privacy concerns, it seems like these devices are here to stay!
In September 2023, we surveyed 807 Americans who have internet-enabled devices in their homes. Respondents ranged in age from 18 to 79 with an average age of 42. 50% were male, 48% were female, and 2% were non-binary.
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