UK consumers are increasingly interested in buying connected home devices such as smart heating and lighting systems, according to new research by consultancy PwC.
The survey of more than 2,000 consumers found that ownership of smart devices has more than doubled in the last two years, with spending predicted to reach £10.8bn in 2019 and 30% of people planning to purchase a smart device for the home in the next two years, up from 14% in 2016.
Aspirational homeowners in the 18-35 years age range are likely to be the biggest adopters: 59% have already invested in smart entertainment and 40% in smartwatches and other wearables.
With the advent of Google, Apple and Amazon smart home assistants — central systems that can connect and control other smart devices — and more affordable technology, the penetration rate of smart devices could double again by 2020, PwC believes.
The survey also revealed that the level of trust in providers of smart devices has almost doubled across the board. Energy companies are still the most trusted, with trust levels rising to 60%, closely followed by telecoms providers on 58% and tech firms on 55%.
“Trust could become a major battleground for traditional players over the next few years,” said Steve Jennings, PwC energy leader. “While trust rates overall have almost doubled, our survey shows that young people, who are more likely to adopt smart devices, lean more towards tech companies. If energy suppliers are to maintain their most trusted position, they need to ensure their propositions engage the younger market.”
Among those who already have a smart meter, three in five said they enjoyed greater comfort, control and security in their homes as a result.
This satisfaction is something that suppliers could highlight to help boost confidence and convert consumers, Jennings suggested.