Written By: SafeHome.org Team | Published: July 26, 2021
Technology has penetrated every corner of modern living, no more so than in the last decade. Peruse any modern home and you’ll likely find an assortment of intelligent devices, such as smart TVs, refrigerators, air conditioning, and home security. One of the biggest game changers in smart home systems is the smart doorbell, AKA video doorbell, AKA doorbell camera. We gathered statistics on these specific home security gadgets to find out just how popular – and effective – they really are.
Smart doorbells are destined for growth. According to a recent market study, smart doorbell sales are expected to grow by 27 percent in the next year.1
In December of 2020 alone, Amazon sold over 400,000 Ring smart doorbell devices and accessories to homeowners worldwide.
So, how did we get from a simple knock on the door to these mini-electronic butlers of sorts?
Doorbells, of course, have held a firm position as a valued home necessity since the mid-1800s, when bells were used to alert homeowners of a visitor's presence.2 By the 1930s, electric mechanisms replaced bells. From that point until the early 21st century, homes have been adorned with various styles and musical options.
Smart Doorbell Origins
Before 2010, smart doorbell technology was not accessible to all homeowners because of the high cost of technology. CCTV connected to doorbell systems were only found in the most expensive homes. Intercom systems were only locally connected to recording devices that could be viewed by specialized monitor control panels.3
In 2013, Ring – the leader in smart doorbell technology originally known as DoorBot – appeared on the market allowing consumers to use their smartphones to see who was at the door, and respond via a built-in intercom system that operated over Wi-Fi or Bluetooth. Since then, an explosion of smart doorbells have saturated a perpetually growing consumer market.
The Evolution of the Doorbell
1927 -The first CCTV security system is invented in Moscow
1930s – Electric doorbells introduced to consumer market
1942 – Siemens creates a CCTV system for the Nazi Regime
1968 – Olean, New York, becomes one of the first cities to implement a security camera network to fight crime4
1970s – First wireless doorbells, widely used5
1972 – Video cassette technology makes CCTV systems accessible to mainstream businesses and companies
1990s – In the late 1990s security camera networks takes another leap forward with digital recording technology
1996 – First IP camera system (Axis NetEye 200) introduced by Axis Communications6 enabling viewing anywhere in the world over the internet
2012 – Entrepreneur Jamie Siminoff invents Doorbot, now called Ring — one of the first smart doorbell systems.7
2014 – 20,000 Ring devices purchased8
2016 – 1 million Ring smart doorbells sold worldwide
2018 – Amazon purchases Ring for over one billion dollars
2018 – Smart doorbells is a 1.4 billion-dollar market, with the US holding 30% of the market share
How Popular are Video Doorbells Really?
By 2025, over 50 billion connected devices will be in use by homeowners everywhere. In 2020, 44.6 percent of homeowners purchased smart devices.11
According to a report by Strategy Analytics, smart doorbells rank high in popularity compared to other home devices — the fourth most popular of all smart appliance tech.12
According to Strategy Analytics, the most popular smart doorbells ranks as follows13:
#1 – Ring
#2 – Nest
#3 – SkyBell
Video Doorbells Bundle Convenience with Security
Two primary factors motivate new buyers to purchase smart doorbells: convenience and security.
At least 78% of adults reported convenience as the biggest motivator behind purchasing smart home technology.14
Video doorbells provide the homeowner increased access and visibility over what occurs right outside their home. Smart doorbells allow residents to accept important deliveries even when they’re not at home, send unwanted visitors away conveniently, and when combined with smart locks, let welcomed visitors in from anywhere in the home.
At least 63% of smart home device owners said security was a primary factor in their decision to buy gadgets like smart doorbells or smart locks.15
Doorbell cameras allow residents to deter would-be criminals, protect packages left on the doorstep, and communicate with strangers without exposing themselves or the home’s interior.
At least 40% of respondents have had their packages stolen off their front porch, according to Security.org.
Amazon has extended the protection Ring provides by partnering with over 2,000 local police and fire departments across the country to share Ring surveillance footage through their Neighbor app.16 The app allows neighbors to form a virtual crime watch, but also communicate around other things in the neighborhood such as lost pets.
One-third of posts report “suspicious activity”, one-fourth involve crime, and one-fifth of posts are about lost pets, according to a report by the Washington Post.17 This move has created controversy over the past five years, sparking a debate over privacy protection and state surveillance.
Amazon reports that after donating Ring doorbells to one in every ten homes in one LA neighborhood, burglaries decreased by 55% after six months.18
Controversy continues over smart home appliances, especially concerning doorbell cameras. Is the Internet of Things just another vehicle for hackers to access your home network and steal your identity? Or is it just cog in the wheel of ultimate convenience? As smart home technology increases in availability and complexity, manufacturers will need to challenge themselves with the responsibility of balancing security with convenience.