With almost a quarter of Britons now owning one or more smart home devices, according to YouGov’s Smart Homes 2018 Report the home automation market is growing faster than ever with the UK leading the way in smart home consumption in Europe according to a survey from research specialist GfK Global. When looking at the abundance of smart home products available, the research demonstrated that connected entertainment and products such as smart speakers were most popular (20 per cent) followed by smart security and control (14 per cent) and smart energy and lighting (13 per cent).
A recent survey conducted by Energenie MiHome with its customers, indicated that voice control integration with Amazon Alexa and Google Home, is still very much top of the list in terms of consumer wants, with 68 per cent of MiHome users stating this as the most important benefit of using smart home. Interestingly, saving energy, time and money all achieved high responses demonstrating that consumers also prioritise energy-saving, affordability and convenience as key factors in determining what smart home products they choose to adopt.
Price remains one of the major obstacles to customers looking to invest in smart home products for the home with 38 per cent citing that smart home products are too expensive and 80% expecting to pay a one-off price for a connected device, according to TechUK’s State of the Connected Home Report. Consumers are faced with a barrage of different products from different brands with a variety of price points. Educating the consumer that smart home doesn’t need to be expensive can therefore be difficult for brands to get across in their marketing messaging but is becoming increasingly significant in such a competitive market. Similarly, ensuring consumers understand from the offset how a smart home purchase will work in the future and whether it is interoperable with other products and brands will prevent disappointment for the consumer if they discover they can’t connect their devices to one another.
Overcoming privacy fears
Lack of security. The fear of the unknown. IoT can gather and analyse data from the variety of sensors in the products and this can be used by other products positively to make the home smarter, more convenient and personalised – exactly what consumers want. However the CPX 360 survey found that two-thirds (70 percent) of consumers understandably fear lack of security from hackers who might hack into smart devices in the home. Above all, consumers want to be confident that their privacy will be maintained and one of the best ways smart home providers can reassure consumers is to proactively engage and educate them about the many safeguards in place, make it easy for customers to install their smart home products and raise awareness of the benefits of sharing data to provide a more convenient and personalised service.
The rise of the smart home consumer
So, what’s next for consumers and smart home? With interest growing in energy efficiency and home security it’s felt that these categories will see the fastest growth in the next few years. But with 75 per cent of non-owners aware of smart home appliances but cited as not understanding how they work, smart home providers still have a lot of work to do when it comes to raising awareness and understanding of the benefits of the connected home.