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The Connected Home Turns off UK Consumers

More challenge than opportunity

The Connected Home or Smart Home is undoubtedly a revolution. The way that smart technology is automating our homes by monitoring and controlling functions like security, temperature, lighting and many more can be life-changing. But is it a revolution that people really need?

We surveyed more than 2,000 consumers to understand how people really feel about the Connected Home. Our findings proved that, despite some thrilling gadgets and gizmos and a huge amount of hype, most people fail to understand the benefits. As we approach Black Friday and the busy shopping season, technology marketers shouldn’t assume that consumers need or even understand what they’re talking about. The lesson for marketers is clear: if you want to break-through the UK’s inertia and scepticism, work harder to communicate the benefits.

At a basic level, we find our principle challenge. The Connected Home is not confidently understood. Less than 1 in 10 of the population say they know a lot about it. Even among the people you’d expect to be familiar with the concept – namely 18 to 24-year olds and those who have some of the tech at home – the figure rises to just 17%. Over half (53%) think that the technology isn’t worth investing in yet and only 29% of the population agree that “People should embrace Connected Home technology, it’s the future.”

We wondered whether there was a mystical cool factor with the Connected Home. Or whether people were impressed by the technology they’d seen around a friend’s house and were inspired to buy it. The answer was no. Over a third of the population (37%) think it’s just for “show-offs” and that “none of it is very useful!”

Marketers need to be aware of this scepticism and reconsider how products and even the concept of the Connected Home is communicated. Whatever they are doing currently is missing the mark. People are drawn to simplicity. Simple stories that they can relate to. They just need to understand the benefits more: over half (60%) believe that companies need to do more to demonstrate the benefits.

Behavioural economics provides useful context here. A lack of understanding leads to our status quo bias taking charge. Meaning that we prefer to take no action or to stick with past decisions, as we see the current situation as a reference point and any change as a potential risk. This means that we need strong motivation to drive action, especially when it comes to higher value purchases.

All of this contributes into a modest take-up. Less than one third of British consumers (31%) have any Connected Home tech currently; 17% plan to get something in the next 12 months; while the majority (52%) don’t have anything and don’t plan to get anything either. Only 2 types of Connected Home tech – Amazon Echo devices (14%) and smart thermostats (10%) – are in one in ten or more of
British consumers’ homes.

We wondered whether there was a mystical cool factor with the Connected Home and whether there were other perception challenges associated with this important trend. To read the whole report, click here