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Baby boomers adapt faster to smart home tech than any other generation

The most popular “first” devices people flocked to were either cameras or streaming devices.

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(Photo by Andrea Piacquadio via Pexels)

Have you ever received a smart home device as a gift? You’re in good company: over half of smart home consumers were gifted their first device and grew their collection from there.

In a poll of 2,000 U.S. adults with smart devices in their homes — devices that are connected to the internet and can be used to control other things throughout the home or be used as digital assistants — found 54% had their first smart devices gifted or bought for them.

And for those that did buy their first devices, the average cost of entry was as little as $110. One in five (19%) said they were able to get their first device for under $75.

The most popular “first” devices people flocked to were either cameras (18%) or streaming devices (16%). In fact, 45% of people with at least one smart home device said they own a smart camera.

Other popular devices likely to make an appearance in the home are speakers (40%), streaming devices (40%), doorbells (27%) and lights (24%).

Commissioned by Google Nest and conducted by OnePoll, the study also looked into the habits Americans have with their smart home devices.

Half were found to interact with their devices at least once every day and 85% said they were experts with their devices within a week of getting them set up.

The fastest adopters of smart home tech were found to be baby boomers — 66% said they started using their smart home devices daily “straight away.” The slowest adopters: Gen Z, where 46% surprisingly said it takes them at least four days to get acclimated to their devices.

However, Gen Z was likely to have the least amount of opposition to owning smart home devices (63%), while millennials had the most amount of initial opposition (25%).

“When people think of smart homes, many think these devices are for a really technical homeowner,” said Karen Yao, Director of Product at Google Nest. “In reality, with new smart home protocols like Matter, smart homes are more customizable and require less analysis to determine the best starting place or ecosystem for you. People can pair any of their Matter-enabled devices together to make a home that is more integrated and helpful than ever before.”

Over a third (37%) claimed a sense of confidence in their smart home expertise and 41% agreed having a “smart” home can only be achieved by knowing how to use them to automate their home.

Just over half (51%) of those surveyed said they’d tried their hand at setting up automations and routines throughout their homes, where their devices can handle basic tasks — like turning lights on or off or playing music — without needing human input.

The most popular routines respondents were proud of were bedtime routines (22%), morning routines (17%) and security-related routines (15%).

Yet there were still plenty who felt hesitant about using their devices. Over a third (34%) said they’d be more likely to automate more of their homes if they understood the benefits of home automation in the first place.

Another 27% said they’d be more inclined to use their devices if they could learn more about how to best use them.

“Getting started is always the hardest step. There are a lot of decisions, like what to buy and how to set it up,” explained Karen. “I got my start by asking friends and family members for their recommendations on devices and helpful automations/routines. These devices can offer so much creative and practical use. As a working mom, I can tell you they’re lifesavers when you need hands-free help in your home.”


  • It needs to be easy to install and use - 40%
  • It needs to help me keep my family and home safe - 40%
  • It needs to be private and secure - 39% 
  • It needs to last for years - 37%
  • It needs to work with other devices in my home - 36%     
  • It needs to do multiple things - 33%
  • It needs to alert me to specific things - 32%

Survey methodology:

This random double-opt-in survey of 2,000 Americans who own at least one smart home device was commissioned by Google Nest between Dec. 1 and Dec. 6, 2022. It was conducted by market research company OnePoll, whose team members are members of the Market Research Society and have corporate membership to the American Association for Public Opinion Research (AAPOR) and the European Society for Opinion and Marketing Research (ESOMAR).

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