By Jennifer Lalji
The Biggest Contributors to Spending in 2020
As various industries ranging from travel and lodging, entertainment, automotive and nonessential retail, took a hard nosedive amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, other sectors saw a significant rise. From healthcare and pharmaceuticals to consumer products – yes, we’re talking about the infamous toilet paper craze and hand- sanitizer obsession – along with telecommunications and most specifically technology, were areas that saw considerable growth just within the last 12 months.
Although many Americans faced financial turmoil during this global crisis due to furloughs and layoffs, economic strains did not, however, prevent increased spending on smart tech devices, specifically those gadgets and appliances geared for the home. With increased stay-at-home orders, forcing nearly 90 million people to remain quarantined indoors, according to the US Census bureau, countless consumers adjusted their attention to home renovation projects, revamping their once bland living quarters to better serve newly reformed lifestyles, whether for quality improvement or simply entertainment. Additionally, thousands of people flocking from all regions of the country, seeking cheaper real estate in cities like Tampa and St. Petersburg, fostered more opportunity for adoption and integration of smart home technology, on account of having more disposable income.
From redesigning home office spaces and amplifying formerly mediocre family rooms into high-tech recreation centers for the entire household to enjoy, smart tech devices became one of the biggest contributors to spending in 2020.
While the term ‘essential worker’ quickly became a critical designation during the pandemic, those who were forced to “work from home” became a classification all in and of itself. Businesses from large conglomerates to even smaller start-ups and mom and pop enterprises previously offered their employees a certain ambiance through high-tech equipment and working environments, which were sorely missed as doors were rapidly closing, considering public health and social distancing. As more and more businesses faced shutdowns, increased smart technology became a crucial necessity, both out of efficiency and personal preference.
So, what exactly did consumers purchase to spruce up their mundane day-to-day while at home? The smart home appliance tech devices can be broken down into these broad categories: Media, music, climate, lighting and security. Let’s take a deeper dive into each of these group.
Lighting and Climate
Many accustomed to bright, fluorescent office lighting sought after their own controllable, smart-lighting fixtures, which could be managed directly from the palms of their hands or via voice assistance through smart switches and bulbs. Enhanced features offered the ability for automatic mood settings such as brighter tones to match the sunrise in the early parts of the day to mimicking warmer tones as seen in the sunset. Additional options included timers to be set to fade on when arriving home or set to fade, when it was time to hit the sack. Similarly, the need for crisp quality- controlled air conditioners called for smart thermostat purchases, which allowed users to control air flow and temperature, set daily and weekly schedules and even give way for artificial intelligence (AI) to learn and predict the perfect and unique temperature patterns based on your settings algorithm!
Media and Music
From increased capacity limitations in places of leisure such as restaurants, malls, sporting arenas and full-on closures in movie theaters, bars and clubs, finding a new way of entertainment shifted to the highest smart purchase of all, smart televisions, which paired perfectly with smart speakers. Increasing sound and display quality such as 4K and high dynamic range (HDR), for featuring the infinite amount of content provided by various steaming services, quickly became the hottest purchase trend for home tech purchases during the pandemic.
With fewer in-store purchases and an influx of online purchases due to stay-at-home orders, home deliveries became the new norm for many during the pandemic. To help mitigate who was in and out of the residence, Americans invested heavily in smart doors bells and security cameras, which offered an array of benefits from deterring and preventing crime, such as package theft, and allowed homeowners to vet guests and visitors, examining if they were properly masked for health, all while giving benefit to any audio and visual experiences in a time of heightened social distancing. Other top security device purchases included pet cams and nanny cams that permitted families to continuously monitor their most precious loved ones all while in the home.
Over 85% of the nation amped their spending compared to the previous year by purchasing at least one smart device for their home, with 78% of these consumers using their technology at least once a day, according to Safewise. One of the most thrilling parts of smart technology is that it is constantly evolving to better serve and improve our lives through optimization. The level of smart, customizable automation is no longer unattainable and is now easily accessible with the simple click of a button or control of your voice!
Jennifer Lalji is the Communications Coordinator at Greater Tampa REALTORS