Smart Homes: Back in the Agenda

The Appeal of Smart Home Technology in the UK: GfK Study Results

GfK, a research firm, released the results of its annual Smart Home Study UK this week, indicating that the Covid-19 pandemic has revived a market that had been in decline. According to the report, the appeal of smart home devices has been in decline since 2017, except for smart entertainment products that dipped in 2018 but grew in popularity in the following year. However, in 2021, GfK has witnessed a rise in the appeal of all categories of smart home products, and growth in smart home device ownership.

Growing Consumer Appeal

The company surveyed around 1,000 UK adults about their interest in, awareness of, and ownership of smartphone products over a four-week period in March and April. The results showed that smart TVs are the most popular, followed by security, smart energy and lighting, health, and smart appliances. The percentage of households with smart TVs has increased from 49% to 58% in the last twelve months, while those with smart speakers and smart health and activity trackers have increased from 29% to 38% and 22% to 24%, respectively.

Reasons Behind the Rise in Popularity

The increase in sales of smart TVs during the lockdowns when people were stuck at home and the increased use of streaming services during this period have contributed to the rise in claimed ownership of smart TVs. Moreover, the availability of more smart TVs on the shelves than non-smart TVs has influenced customers’ purchasing decisions.

Emerging Growth Areas

GfK has identified some key emerging growth areas in the smart home segment. Smart kitchen appliances, doorbells, and personal care devices such as toothbrushes are increasingly becoming popular among consumers. Although sales volumes remain small, growth in smart small kitchen appliances has increased by 257% year-on-year.

Interoperability Challenges

Although consumer interest in smart home technology is growing, manufacturers and service providers must address the issue of interoperability of these products to maintain momentum in creating smarter homes. This is becoming increasingly important as nearly a quarter of UK consumers now have at least four smart home devices in their homes.