Marketing of Home Tech is Hugely Important

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The home market is seeing a growing trend in the home tech offer as a way for homebuilders to keep track of and boost sales for new homes.

What are the most promising technologies homebuilders can install and sell in new homes today?

The Consumer Electronics Association (CEA) provides a pretty good idea, from its annual State of the Builder Technology Market tracking study.

Builders generally see home technologies as a way to compete in their markets and set them apart from their rivals.

Here are some results of the technologies offered, as highlighted in the most recent 11th edition released earlier this year:

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This doesn’t mean technologies such as home automation and lighting controls aren’t worth offering. That depends largely on the builder and the price of the home. Builders generally see home technologies as a way to compete in their markets and set them apart from their rivals.

According to the study, national builders are more likely to install automated lighting control systems, home automation, energy management systems and intercom systems, indicating that these home technologies are more likely to be standardized across many markets.

In recent years, large and national builders have seen the largest windfall from built-in home technologies. Undoubtedly, economies of scale help these bigger builders to offset the costs of these technologies.

The national average installation price for home technologies is roughly $2,340, which is about $55 less than it was in 2011. While home technology installation pricing remained relatively constant from 2011 to 2012, there were marginal decreases in the costs of home automation and marginal increases in the costs of automated lighting controls.

National builders (38%) see the greatest benefit of tech as it relates to revenues.

Marketing Technology
According to the study, almost all builders (81%) find the latest technology features somewhat or very important in the marketing process.

“Builders are saying it’s important to market new home technologies,” says Chris Ely, senior manager of industry analysis at CEA. “They’re learning about technologies themselves and looking for ways to partner with other suppliers and vendors to create value for their clients.”

The marketing of these technologies is more critical for luxury homebuilders, with 41% indicating them as very important in their marketing efforts.

Some features, such as structured wiring, central vacuum and automated lighting controls, experienced small declines in offer rates (down 6% to 7%) from 2011 to 2012.

The CEA surmises that offerings of these features declined primarily due to the growth rate in starter homes, as move-up and luxury builders offered these features at a much higher rate than the national average. It could also be due to a slight but natural adjustment following the exuberance of a market recovery.

Proactive marketing for structured wiring and monitored security remained constant from 2011 to 2012. On the other hand, proactive marketing of almost all other home technologies (except energy management) decreased from 2011 to 2012. This data indicates that builders are still trying to find the sweet spot to appeal to homebuyers with these technologies.

Ely says there’s room for growth in energy management. “Many eyes are looking at energy management as more consumers want to save money and save energy. In some areas of country there are concerns about the cost of energy.”

“We’re seeing in general that builders are recognizing and [are] keen to look at areas of opportunities to grow their revenues-if they can increase their revenues beyond things like granite counter tops, these are areas that can help the bottom lines of builders.”

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