Smart home tech is rapidly gaining ground in the U.S. In 2023, an estimated 47% of American households will actively use smart devices at least once per month to manage their homes. This includes innovative tech products that monitor or control key areas like lighting, access, or temperature.
Why Multicultural Audiences Feel Excluded
Despite the rapid growth of these devices, Intelligence Center’s 2022 Smart Home Tech study suggests a gap between smart home tech brands and Black, Hispanic, and Asian-American and Native Hawaiian/Pacific Islander (AANHPI) audiences. Based on the report, we can theorize three reasons multicultural consumers feel excluded from this category.
Market Entry Barriers
Multicultural audiences believe there are prerequisites for using smart home tech, such as being a homeowner. Seventy-four percent of renters do not feel that smart home tech is designed to meet their needs, possibly because they don’t own their homes.
The study shows that Black and Hispanic segments are more likely to rent their home. A Rent.com survey revealed that 49% of renters do not own a smart home tech device. Moreover, multicultural consumers, especially renters, do not feel that smart home automation is relevant to them. Based on Intelligence Center’s findings, 56% of renters think this way.
Don’t Fit the Model
In some cases, these multicultural audiences may decide that belonging to a specific demographic is necessary to acquire smart home tech. According to our study, this happens because the messaging of smart home tech companies does not resonate with them.
In the paper Who uses smart home technologies? Representations of users by the smart home industry, the authors analyzed marketing materials from 31 companies in the smart home tech category. They found that marketing materials tend to feature a young-to-middle-aged white couple, often with a single child. These practices foster the idea that their products are only for a specific demographic.
Multicultural households often consist of several generations living under the same roof. When incorporating smart home tech, these multigenerational households consider the comfort of all members. More high-tech devices may be too complex for elderly family members to manage.
Incorporating smart home tech is a family decision; therefore, brands must reinforce that regardless of age, devices will be easy to use and positively impact the lives of everyone in the home.
Closing the Gap to Generate Full Access to Smart Home Tech
According to our study, the two fundamental factors in bridging the gap between smart home tech brands and multicultural audiences are the design of the products and the advertising.
Over 50% of AANHPI, Black and Hispanic audiences expressed interest in buying from brands that create products and advertising that have them in mind. Advertisers need to reach out to multicultural audiences and create marketing solutions that grab the attention of diverse communities.
An estimated 4-in-10 multicultural adults do not feel that these products are for them since they cannot understand how they fit their needs. Brands have to demonstrate the impact devices can have on people’s lives. They must clarify their accessibility in terms of price and show personal relevance with audiences beyond middle-aged white homeowners.
In addition, brands have to show that they have this unique audience in mind when they design their smart home tech products. According to our study, the multicultural target would be 60% more willing to buy from a brand they feel develops products for a diverse culture.
Tech brands need to create more familiarity with multicultural audiences. The marketing materials have to resonate with the audience and showcase different lifestyles with diverse talent.
For example, our study shows that 5-in-10 multicultural renters are unconvinced or uncertain about whether smart home automation brands understand them. Harnessing nuanced cultural insights to strategically reach and engage diverse communities can be an effective avenue for brands to display a solid understanding of the audience.
Initiate Conversation and Understanding
Smart home brands have to incorporate multicultural perspectives in all phases of the process, from product design to advertising, to bridge the gap between diverse consumers and tech.
Establishing links between multicultural audiences and brands is the first step toward greater inclusion. As the Intelligence Center team states in Adweek, “We see our research as a way to start these conversations to make sure everyone has access to the technology.”
Smart home technology is designed to make people’s lives easier and more comfortable, but marketers can’t afford to leave some audiences behind. Contact My Code to find out how to build more meaningful relationships with diverse consumers.