Habitats

A quarter of Brits now live in ‘smart homes’

By Kitty Knowles 25 October 2017
Summary

Find out what we're buying - and why.

It’s been a rocky ride for Brits embracing the ‘smart home’ dream.

When the technology fails, it fails hard – like when Hive’s thermostats accidentally baked British customers, or when Lockstate’s supposed ‘smart locks’ left many stuck out in the cold.

Today however, we’re turning a corner in wanting – and bringing – smart technology into our lives.

Almost a quarter (24%) of Brits have embraced internet-connected homes.

Smart home success?

Smart devices are becoming the norm in the UK, finds Maplin one of the country’s biggest technology chains.

Sales of smart home kit has jumped by 135% year-on-year, says the retailer in a new report, with fans spending around £174 each on devices for their homes in the last year.

The appeal of the connected home goes beyond early adopters, to mainstream society.

As many as 93% of consumers say they already know about smart home products, with a further 71% considering buying their first devices. That’s despite the fact 55% don’t fully understand it.

“If the current growth in demand for Smart Home products continues, they will soon become as common as smart phones,” said Oliver Meakin, CEO of Maplin.

What are we buying and why?

Most smart home owners are using devices in their living rooms, but many already have devices in their kitchens and bedrooms, as well as elsewhere in the house.

And while the main reason we’re driven to buy smart home products is to improve the safety of our homes, we also love tech that ‘makes our lives easier’, and that saves us money.

The biggest problems we’re looking to solve is our tendency to accidentally leaving the lights on, and to forget to switch off plugs when we’ve stopped using them – a bugbear Maplin says props up its best-selling smart product, the smart plug.

Looking ahead

But as with any cutting-edge tech, change is on the cards, with trends likely to shift in the run-up to Christmas.

The most popular smart home device people say they want to buy in the next six months is a voice-activated smart home hub.

Amazon Echo hubs are most in-demand, with 22% of consumers hoping to buy one (unsurprising given Amazon’s recent unveiling of new products). But devices from competitors like Google and Apple also appeal to 16% of prospective shoppers.

Most plan on using their home hubs to listen to music and control their smart lights; other popular uses include finding out the weather forecast, searching for information and keeping homes safe.

Some parents even say they want a hub to help with their kids’ homework.

Right now, the biggest thing that might stop fans following through on purchases is price, while others are concerned about the complexity and compatibility of products.

These barriers don’t seem to be putting Scots off though: 35% of people in Glasgow have smart kit of their own, making it the UK’s smartest city.

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