The Connected Home Turns off UK Consumers

NB Team

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More challenge than opportunity

The Connected Home is undoubtedly a revolution. The way that smart technology is automating our homes can be life-changing. But is it a revolution that people need?

We surveyed over 2,000 consumers to understand how people feel about the Connected Home. Despite the hype, our findings show most people don’t grasp the benefits. As we approach Black Friday, technology marketers shouldn’t assume that consumers need, or even understand, what they’re talking about. The lesson for marketers is clear. They must work harder to communicate the benefits if they are to break through the UK’s scepticism.

The principal challenge is that people don’t understand the Connected Home. Less than 1 in 10 of the population say they know a lot about it. You would expect the concept to be more familiar among technology owners or 18-24-year-olds. However, just 17% of these groups expressed familiarity with the Connected Home. Over half (53%) think that the technology isn’t worth investing in. Moreover, just 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. We thought people may be impressed by the technology they’d seen around a friend’s house. However, 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 should be aware of this scepticism. Consequently, they must reconsider how the Connected Home is communicated. Whatever they are doing currently is missing the mark. Simplicity appeals to people. They like things they can relate to. They need to understand the benefits more. Over half (60%) believe that companies must do more to demonstrate the benefits.

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

This is all contributing to a modest take-up. Less than one-third of British consumers (31%) have any Connected Home tech currently. Meanwhile, 17% plan to purchase technology in the next 12 months, but 52% don’t have anything. Moreover, they don’t plan to get anything either. Only two types of Connected Home tech proved slightly popular. The Amazon Echo (14%) and smart thermostats (10%) are in one in ten, or more, of British consumers’ homes.

We wondered whether there were other perception challenges associated with this important trend. To read the whole report, click here