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Consumer attitudes to smart technology systems across the home

As the range of smart technology for the home becomes ever wider and more advanced, the dream of the ‘connected home’ continues to become more attractive to many homeowners. The emergence of Voice Search devices such as Alexa and Google Assistant now represent low price entry points to a broader smart home system in the home.

However, current understanding of consumer attitudes and behaviours towards installing smart technology systems appears fairly unsophisticated at the moment.

Eureka! Research has conducted an exclusive survey with nearly 1,000 UK homeowners to better understand consumer sentiment to smart tech and where they would turn for advice about installation. You can download our FREE report here.

Some of our key findings are:

· Smart tech has strong market potential across many rooms in the home but currently has the strongest natural association with living spaces and the kitchen;

· Technology solutions for other rooms such as the bathroom or utility spaces e.g. garage currently have less obvious fit currently for consumers – brands need to drive demand in these parts of the home;

· The kitchen is particularly a strong area of potential with younger homeowners, 6 in 10 of those aged under 35 years say the kitchen is highly suited to smart tech solutions;

· In terms of product types, the most popular for homeowners are related to security, lighting and heating;

· Specific products in the kitchen space such as dash buttons and digital refrigeration appliances currently have relatively little resonance – this may quickly change as cheaper third-party fridgecams enter the market;

· Although smart taps appear of limited appeal currently, we find that smart lighting is specifically of interest to those who see that bathroom generally as a part of the house for smart tech. This could be a gateway product for bathroom brands and for installers who diversify their skills;

· Consumers say they would prefer to pay for a professional installer in this field, with less than 1 in 7 indicating that they would do it themselves. A specifically branded smart tech ‘expert’ or engineer’ was the most popular choice from a list of trades;

· Smart tech manufacturers such as Hive and Nest have already generated brand salience in this sector and 40% of consumers would contact these brands as part of their installation journey. Digital channels also play a large role, either through general search or endorsement sites such as Checkatrade. One quarter of homeowners would contact a tradesperson, either through social media, newspapers or prior experience.

The results highlight several challenges for brands operating in the kitchen and bathroom sector, if they are to full maximise the ‘connected homes’ macro trend.

Fiona Bowyer, Senior Marketing Professional in these sectors, agrees: “Brands looking to exploit this exciting trend need to work on developing product that demonstrate a more compelling end benefit to the consumer. This could be through more dedicated ‘whole house’ networking or, particularly in the case of the bathroom, developing product that links seamlessly with increasingly mainstream controls developed by Amazon, Google or Apple”

Dave Ruston, Director at Eureka! Research observes “Our findings clearly show that consumers currently have quite a narrow perception of smart tech applications in their homes – namely security, heating comfort and lighting solutions. Brands need to invest in educating homeowners about the wider solutions becoming available or leverage these gateway products into other areas. It will be fascinating to measure how consumer attitudes towards this emerging area evolves in coming years.”

Joe Sharpe, Online Editor at Installer Magazine said “This report gives some fantastic insight into what the public thinks of ‘smart home’ products, a topic that’s talked about a lot in our industry. The good news is that there seems to be a growing demand for these products, and installers are viewed as the experts, and the best people to advise and complete the work. There’s a lot of potential here for installers to expand their business, and it’s a growing area that’s definitely worth keeping an eye on.”

For more Eureka! insight download our exclusive FREE research report now!

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