Interpret’s survey of smart home product intenders finds that 9% of US consumers expect to purchase a smart lock in the coming six months. While the number is only half of those expecting to purchase a smart security system or Wi-Fi camera, it is significantly higher than expected purchases of smart water leak or smoke detectors. Smart locks are a smart home product category that continues to improve in performance and price.

Locks are an essential part of everyday life and a device with which a person interacts dozens of times a day. Despite their importance, adoption of smart locks remains in the single digits of US consumers, while, according to Pew Research, smartphone adoption has reached 85%, up from 35% just 10 years earlier. If 85% of consumers are carrying a digital key in the form of a smartphone, why is smart lock adoption not higher?

Interpret’s upcoming five-year smart lock forecast predicts a steady increase in adoption of smart locks and a gradual decrease in average selling price. The primary purchase barrier for smart lock adoption is reluctance to replace a fully functional working lock. In other words, 34% of consumers are taking the “if it isn’t broken, don’t fix it approach” to door locks. Stated differently, the smart lock industry has not yet succeeded in convincing homeowners that traditional locks are clearly inferior. As an example, manufacturers of smart thermostats have been able to drive earlier replacements of working thermostats by offering so much value that they have shortened the traditional replacement cycle.

To create those perceptions, manufacturers may have to add features such as built-in cameras, facial recognition, and “left unlocked” alerts. In the meantime, however, smart locks that do not require a complete replacement may help attract consumers to the category. Smart locks from companies including Level and DEN Smart Home don’t require a complete replacement of existing mechanical door locks but do require some installation knowledge and skill.

Getting consumers to want smart locks as much as they desire smart lighting – a category that has gained much traction in the past two years – will likely require hub-less locks that communicate directly to smartphones, lower prices, and better battery life, in addition to durability. As builders continue to add more smart home amenities to homes and as consumer awareness of smart home devices grows, expect interest in smart locks to benefit.