The State of the Connected Home 2021: new report launch
The latest report looking into the consumer adoption and attitudes to connected home technology has been released today. The report, prepared conjunction with GfK, covers the lockdowns and documents the shifting behaviours during the pandemic which saw more of us staying at home and interacting with the tech in our homes.
Read the report here: The state of the Connected Home 2021: a year like no other
Smart devices have played an essential role in keeping us entertained, productive and connected during a very trying year, and digital tech has really helped make life a bit easier for many during lockdown. Consumers have adopted this tech in large numbers and we have seen in the growth in personal fitness devices and what can broadly be labelled as lifestyle/wellbeing products. Smart home tech also has a major role to play in decarbonisation and managing energy better, and with lockdown it is no surprise to see smart lighting and smart thermostats performing well too.
As well as looking at intentions to buy and real-world sales data, GfK also asked consumers on the barriers and problems they face with smart home tech.
Cost and privacy remain the biggest barriers to adoption, though interoperability of devices has reached the point where it is a mainstream concern. The hypothesis is that with us spending so much time at home in the last year consumers have used devices more and feel frustrated they aren’t talking to each other in a way they expected.
While the report shows more understanding of tech, there is still some ambiguity on the real-world benefits of devices with many not getting what these devices can do for them beyond entertainment.
We're also seeing price impacts relating to the semiconductor shortage and shipping capacity constraints. With container shipping now 10x more expensive than what it was and well documented shortages in semiconductors, prices are rising for devices and we expect that to be the case for the rest of 2021.
The report includes a number of recommendations to industry and government on what we think needs to happen to increase adoption of connected home tech and these are:
- For industry and retail: “Smart home” is familiar to consumers, so firms should focus on communicating the tangible consumer benefits of smart and connected devices and reassure users around ease of use, interoperability, and privacy.
- For device manufacturers and product designers: With interoperability a mainstream concern, it needs to be a priority for manufacturers and not addressing these issues risks reducing demand, increasing frustration and creating a situation where smart home tech does not meet expectations.
- For government and regulators: Regulation and policy on product safety, cyber security and net zero needs to be aligned and the various policies and strategies need to complement each other, be consistent and have shared goals. The recent digital regulation principles are a positive step in this regard.
- For government and regulators: Government should promote smart appliance adoption in the UKs future product policy framework. Smart appliances that save energy and offer safety advantages should be seen as routes to meeting environmental and product safety targets so should be the same.
- For government and regulators: There needs to be a stronger understanding of how smart home tech can play a key role in delivering a fully flexible energy system.
Craig is Head of Head of Digital Devices, Market Access, Environment and Sustainability which covers issues as diverse as modern slavery, conflict minerals, new tech, compliance and Brexit.
Prior to joining techUK he worked in public affairs, communications, television and consumer electronics and he has an avid interest in new and emerging technologies.
Craig has a degree in Ancient History from King’s College London and spends his time watching Watford FC.
Teodora’s rich background varies from working in business development for a renewable energy lobbying association in Brussels to the fast moving technology innovation startup scene in the UK.
She has designed the market strategy for a German renewable energy engineering scale up for the UK, listed on Nasdaq private market, and now one of the fastest growing scale ups in the world. Previous experience also includes managing a renewable energy startup in London, which has built a small-scale biomass CHP power plant. Teodora is passionate about cross-industry collaboration and working together with academia to inform the design of future educational models and skill building.
Most recently Teodora has ran the commercial activities and business development at Future Cities Catapult, focusing on innovation in cities, digital health and wellbeing, mobility, and infrastructure. Teodora is a passionate STEM Ambassador and a vocal advocate for women in tech.