Consumers will shun operators when buying smart home devices, claims new report

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Under one in 20 Britons are expecting to source smart home products from a mobile operator, a new report has claimed.

A survey of 2,500 UK consumers by EY revealed almost 60 percent expect to own at least one smart home product by 2022, compared to 26 percent of consumers owning one today.

This growth does not spell good news for the telecoms industry, however, with most consumers indicating they would prefer to opt for other service providers.

The report found 19 percent of households would buy the products from their broadband provider, 17 percent from an IoT specialist, 15 percent from a utility and four percent from an operator.

Potential deterrents to adoption include price, with only 19 percent of consumers agreeing the current cost is reasonable.

Thirty seven percent of Britons said they would not feel confident installing a device and 71 percent said they would have security concerns about any connected device.

If these obstacles can be overcome, smart heating devices look the most lucrative choice for manufacturers. The survey found 38 percent of consumers would buy one within the next five years, more than four times the current adoption rate of eight percent.

Ownership of smart security devices has been predicted to increase during the same period from seven percent to 32 percent, with digital home assistants and smart lighting in joint third place, with 31 percent identifying them as their preferred purchase, compared to 11 percent and seven percent rates of ownership respectively today.

However, smart fridges, ovens and washers are expected to lag behind, with only 19 percent, 15 percent and 18 percent of households respectively expecting to buy them over the next five years.

Praveen Shankar, Partner and Telecommunications Sector Leader, EY said: “Our survey findings highlight many positives that product and service providers can draw on as they formulate their smart home strategies.

"However, looking ahead, they must position the customer at the heart of their approach and provide a compelling and consistent story about the value they can offer them.

"Customer concerns regarding installation and security should not be treated as an afterthought, and clear communications should exist before, during and after the point of sale. Service providers must also regularly assess their role in an evolving supplier ecosystem.”