Sylvania published its Eighth Annual Socket Survey. The survey results show that LED lighting popularity is gaining. Also, more people than ever before had heard about smart lighting and smart technology. However, the results seem to suggest that consumers still do not understand the potential return on investment for smart lighting. For the 2016 Socket Survey, Sylvania contracted KRC Research to conduct 1000 interviews obtained from an online panel from February 24th to March 1.
Among the people of the sample, the most common source of light bulb information was found to be at a physical point of sale. The survey respondents consulted employees, displays, and packaging most often. However, since 2015, the survey found that more consumers are turning to websites (retailer and manufacturer) and consumer reviews.
The survey found that consumers most commonly consider longevity, brightness, and price before purchasing bulbs. LED bulb buyers and users are more likely to place importance on almost every feature of the bulbs they buy, suggesting that they’re taking more into consideration. However, non-LED buyers and users considered the price to be more important.
One significant change from 2015 to 2016, is that Americans now say they most often stock up on LEDs. In 2015, CFLs were the most commonly chosen light since the phase-out of incandescent bulbs. Like last year, more consumers were found to be aware of LED bulbs than any other non-incandescent variety.
The survey found that about 70% had purchased LED bulbs, and nearly half (48%) have done so in the past 12 months. The numbers that have purchased LED bulbs increased 17% since 2015. LED bulbs are only bulb type with such growth. Like bulbs in general, the survey revealed that consumers considered longevity, brightness, and price most frequently before purchasing LED bulbs.
They found that CFLs are losing popularity. Since the incandescent phase-out, the survey showed that (27%) more consumers than 2015 for a total of (38%) have shifted the bulb buying purchases to LEDs. Those who shifted to CFLs since the phase-out fell 20% to 33% overall. Similarly, fewer said that said they are most likely to buy CFL bulbs 31% overall the next time they need bulbs compared with 39% overall for LED bulbs. Like 2015, a slightly smaller number of the consumers surveyed have heard of CFLs compared to LEDs.
Most of the survey respondents said that they have heard of smart technology, especially thermostats, lighting, alarms, and locks. Some two-thirds (65%) of respondents said that they have heard of smart lighting. A smaller but growing number of the respondents said that they are familiar with smart appliances. However, less than one-third (30%) of consumers were found to have purchased any kind of smart technology. Most of the survey respondents think smart lighting will eventually replace regular light bulbs, and the intensity of that belief (“strongly agree”) has grown noticeably since last year. They found that few among the sample had purchased smart lighting, suggesting that they saw it as a future trend.
The survey found that among those who were aware of smart lighting, thee-quarters (75%) felt that smart lighting was too expensive. This portion is the same percentage as 2015. The results suggested that consumers still need to be taught about the potential return on investment specifically for smart (connected) LED lighting compared to conventional LED bulbs.
Of those that are aware of smart lighting, 80% said that some part of their home could benefit from smart lighting technology. Some 55 percent of the respondents who are aware of smart lighting said that they would likely purchase smart lighting the next time they bought bulbs.
Those who are most likely to buy smart lighting tend to be younger, get their information from the Internet, already own some LED bulbs and earn more than $100,000 annually. Specifically, among that 55% who will likely purchase smart lighting for their next bulb purchase, 68% get lighting information from the Internet; 61% already own LED bulbs; 64% earn more than $100,000 annually, and 63 percent are under age 35.
LEDs overall were viewed more favorably. The respondents were more likely to agree with positive LED statements than 2015. The greatest improvement in favorable beliefs about LEDs was the percentage who agreed that the initial cost was worth the value, which increased 23% from just 73% in 2015 to 90% in 2016.
How can we improve from these impressive results?
It is our responsibility as an industry to better educate consumers online and at the point of sale with better store displays and more informed employees. While overall more of the respondents knew about LED lighting, the return on investment over time was still apparently not understood among those that would purchase CFL bulbs for their next bulb purchase. Also the return of investment for smart LED lighting in particular over conventional LED lighting still apparently holds consumers back from purchasing smart (connected) bulbs for their next bulb purchase. This consumer understanding of smart bulbs can also improve with education from the industry. An informed consumer is our greatest ally in the smart lighting industry.