Study: Consumers open to living in connected homes

A new report from research firm gFK has found that over half of consumers internationally believe that ‘smart’ or ‘connected’ homes will be a huge effect on their lives in the coming years.

The study, which saw over 7,000 respondents from seven different countries asked to choose which new technologies would affect their lives the most, found that 51 percent of consumers backed a future of smart home technology, which was on par with mobile payments (54 percent) and significantly more than interest in wearables (33 percent).

The areas of smart home technology applications that have most appeal for consumers internationally are for ‘security and control’ and ‘energy or lighting’ (55 percent and 53 percent), followed by ‘entertainment and connectivity’ (48 percent). ‘Health’ and ‘smart appliances’ are neck and neck in fourth place at 43 percent each. There were however significant national variations – such as the appeal of security and control which stands at over a third (38 percent) in the UK, but over a half (54 percent) in the USA and South Korea.

There is similar national variation in the barriers that consumers feel are holding them back from acquiring smart home products. The leading issues across all countries are price, followed by privacy concerns. But while that’s the international trend, in the UK, the second highest barrier cited is lack of knowledge, not privacy – while in Brazil it’s poor internet connection.

The study asked consumers to choose which of 11 leading-edge technologies – from 3D printing to augmented/virtual reality to Internet of Things – would have an impact on their lives in the next few years. The full study, which is available for purchase as in-depth country reports, also looked at what each country’s consumers want from smart home technology, their preferred suppliers, and the main barriers hindering uptake.

Consumer spending on smart homes and associated products is predicted to reach US$ 100 billion (£65 billion) within the next five years, with this growth pushing the number of connected appliances in smart homes to over 20 million by 2020.