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May 31, 2016

7 in 10 Brits not buying into the smart home hype

News: Sellers urged to rethink and adapt market strategies to bespoke services based on customers’ needs.

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Smart home manufacturers and retailers are set to be faced with challenging consumers as the majority of people (72%) are not currently interested in buying smart home technologies.

A PwC survey questioned 2,006 UK households, with seven in ten not planning to buy devices such as smart heating systems, plugs, appliances, lighting, renewable energy devices or automated cleaning appliances over the next two to five years.

However, the "Smart home technology – Internet of Things or Indifference to Things!" survey found that the majority of consumers see positive benefits in owning a smart device.

81% noticed a positive impact from smart heating with over 95% already seeing the benefits from their smart appliances, such as ovens that download recipes and fridges.

In order to attract consumers, companies have been urged to offer incentives, especially financial ones.

According to the survey, 35% of consumers would be likely to adopt smart technologies if there were paybacks through a reduction in energy bills. Free supply and installation was cited by 37% of respondents as a factor likely to sway their smart tech adoption, while only a small amount of those surveyed cited the ability to manage energy usage via an app (9%) or keeping up with ‘tech-tastic’ friends and family (6%) as factors likely to influence their smart tech adoption.

On the product front, consumers seem to not be interested in smart air conditioning (79%), smart appliances (78%) and robotic cleaners (77%) technologies which appear to be the least likely purchases.

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Conversely, of the products now available on the high street or via energy and tech firms, smart plugs, lighting or heating systems are the most likely tech tools to tempt householders.

PwC said it believes it takes on average between six to eight years for a tech revolution such as broadband or smart phones to become ‘the norm’, meaning suppliers have "a short timeframe in which to win the hearts and minds of consumers and turn smart energy tech into a sustainable revenue stream".

Steve Jennings, UK Power and Utilities leader at PwC, said: "It is clear from our survey that if suppliers and new market entrants are to win over consumers, they will need to develop propositions that not only cut through what appears to be a perceived complex technology challenge but address the reluctance of consumers to fund the introduction of many of these smart energy tech products into their homes.

"Companies which can swiftly adapt their offers and marketing to meet the needs of this market, recognising the range of demographics and buyer behaviours, will be the front runners – not the also rans – as smart energy tech becomes significantly more commonplace over the next six to eight years."

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