Every cloud has a silver lining, as the saying goes. This is one silver lining that builders and electrical contractors can plug into.

A recent study by the Consumer Electronics Association (CEA) reveals a surprising twist in the current down market that has a posi-tive outcome. The “7th Annual State of the Builder Technology Market Study,” released in March, reveals consumers’ desires to stay plugged in at home in a bad economy has provided new home builders with a healthy revenue stream in what is an otherwise miserable housing market. Specifically, 71 percent of builders cited said technology helped them preserve home renovation revenue that might otherwise have declined this year because of the market conditions—an increase of 10 percent from last year.

The trend has not been lost on those who stand to benefit the most from it. CEA director Steve Koenig said, “builders are aware of the value of home technology and have increased their marketing efforts, suggesting builders are leaving no stone unturned to help move inventories while recognizing the importance of home technology for consumers.”

He sees the trend continuing.

“Home technology is poised to take off as the economy and housing market improves,” Koenig said.

According to the CEA report, builders are finding more selling points, especially in entertainment--related technology features. This corresponds with the growing consumer trend to stay at home to save on expenses. Builders have increased entertainment-related offerings, such as multiroom audio (69 percent) and home theaters (74 percent) in 2008. Home theater installation was up 8 percent in 2008 and was the only category that did not decrease or remain the same in overall installations.

Builders aren’t the only practitioners to benefit from this phenomenon. Last year, the CEA conducted a similar study, which revealed that electrical contractors represented 72 percent of all installers of home technologies.