Connected home device ownership up but consumers remain sceptical, according to techUK report

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TechUK has launched its second annual report, The State of the Connected HomeThe report, based on exclusive research conducted by GfK of 1,000 UK consumers, explores the knowledge and understanding of categories and ownership of connected home products and services.

Key findings include that the appeal for smart entertainment systems seems to be driving overall appeal for the connected home sector, with smart energy and lighting and security systems also seen as desirable.

The report illustrates the number of connected devices owned by consumers is growing from 35% in 2017 to 44% in 2018 and there is early evidence that some devices – particularly home assistants and smart meters – may act as a gateway to ownership of others. This will be a trend that techUK will examine in more detail in its 2019 work.

There are, however, clear barriers to take-up with cost, specifically a lack of perceived value, cited by over 40% of respondents as a significant barrier. Privacy (23%) and security (16%) of devices are also significant barriers for consumers. techUK is committed to working with industry and Government to help consumers realise the value in adopting and using connected home devices.

Consumer expectations for installation and payment defer across age group, e.g.  consumers between 35 and 44 strongly agree with self-installation but over 65s do not. When it comes to paying for these devices, there is a clear preference of 79% for single payment options although over 20% of respondents indicated that they would favour a service model.

GfK key account director Trevor Godman noted: “Take-up of smart home products continues to rise, with interactive speakers the hot product of the last year. In contrast, however, the level of consumer excitement about smart home as a category has lost momentum somewhat – particularly for smart security, smart appliances, and smart health products.

“As smart home pivots to the mass market, it is essential for manufacturers to identify use cases and communicate compelling benefits to capture the imagination of consumers.”

Smart Energy GB director of policy and communications Robert Cheesewright added: “This report from techUK highlights the huge potential that smart meters have in helping us take advantage of the range of smart products and services available, making our lives easier, our bills cheaper and allowing us to do our bit for the environment. Smart meters are the building blocks for this energy revolution.”

TechUK’s IoT programme head Matthew Evans commented: “The Connected Home can deliver real productivity and cost savings to consumers, as well as that elusive prize of peace of mind. However, our report demonstrates that privacy and security concerns are real barriers to the adoption of connected home technologies.

“If industry is to deliver these benefits, then we need to work doubly hard to address these justified concerns and continue to demonstrate the value that these new products and services can deliver.”

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