Only 38% of Americans own a home security product – and maybe not for the reasons you think.

When you think of home security systems, what kind of household comes to mind? Many of us operate under the assumption that home security is more popular among certain demographics, and that there are a few key motivators behind purchasing these systems and products. We conducted a survey to confirm or challenge those assumptions, and 3,001 adults from all over the U.S. responded. 

What’s the main motivation behind most home security purchases?

Chart: Motivation for buying home security products

Half of all home security owners purchased their device or system because of a simple inclination for greater security. This majority response seems to indicate that people are more proactive than reactive when it comes to home security. They’re more likely to make purchases to increase their sense of safety rather than in response to an incident or life event.

Motivation to purchase home security in different age groups

When we look into the demographics, we see that younger people are the exception to this generalization. Ages 18-34 are more likely to be motivated by a break-in, attempted break-in or move. (Read on for other statistics about generational differences and discussion about factors that could contribute to them.) 

While improved security was the leading general motivation by far, “Other” was the second most common response. Survey participants had the option to self-report other motivations. Their  answers overwhelmingly indicated a desire to keep an eye on pets. 

What type of home security products are most popular?

Most Popular Home Security Products

Cameras are the most popular home security device, surpassing traditional home security systems. Market analysts and our own observations suggest this could be due to the fact that private surveillance cameras are more affordable, easier to install, and more readily available than ever. Plus, artificial intelligence features like motion detection, face recognition and mobile alerts help empower camera owners to self-monitor their property without the help of a professional monitoring service.

It’s notable that 62% of respondents don’t own any kind of security device whatsoever. That leaves plenty of room for growth, which should be good news for security providers and manufacturers – and perhaps it’s good news to thieves or intruders as well. This lack of saturation also supports industry projections that predict the worldwide video surveillance market will grow to $87.36 billion by 2025. 

Top 3 Alternatives to Home Security Systems

There’s a significant “other” cohort in this category. Here are the leading self-reported responses:

What kinds of devices are most popular among different age groups?

Home security devices purchased by different age groups

When we break down device ownership into different age ranges, we see that younger generations are more likely to own some kind of home security device than older generations, especially less expensive DIY options like smart locks and self-monitored systems. This might come as a surprise to those who assume home security exclusively for the affluent or well-established. 

What can these trends be attributed to? Our data suggests a few different theories (which would require more research to confirm or deny): 

Are parents more security-minded than non-parents?

Parents' Attitudes Toward Home Security

Yes – but not as much as you might think. Non-parents are only slightly behind them in the general safety, caution and security category. Another item of interest: parents seem to want increased security even after their kids turn 18. If we were to speculate, the need for more protection could be a little-known symptom of being an empty nester. 

Why don’t more people own home security?

Reasons why people don't own home security products

For most people, the single biggest barrier is price. Others believe that their homes or neighborhoods are already sufficiently safe and secure. Still others – 17.9% –  couldn’t even give a reason as to why not, a strong indication that it’s simply not a priority for them. 

Does home security actually make people feel safer?

Does home security make people feel safer?

So, we know that most people buy into home security to increase their sense of safety in their home. Does it actually work? Yes – for 3 out of 4 people, anyway. The rest still don’t feel safe in their homes despite the action they’ve taken. Why not? We look forward to future research to elucidate further. Tell us: What type of home security products do you own? Do they enhance your peace of mind?

Safety.com commissioned YouGov Plc to conduct the survey. All figures, unless otherwise stated, are from YouGov Plc. Total sample size was 3,001 adults. Fieldwork was undertaken July 3-8, 2019. The survey was carried out online and meets rigorous quality standards. It employed a non-probability-based sample using both quotas upfront during collection and then a weighting scheme on the back end designed and proven to provide nationally representative results.