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Smart home trumps wearables in GfK consumer study

by Stuart Wilson, Friday 27 November 2015

The latest GfK research claims that half of people internationally believe smart home technology will make an impact on their lives in the next few years, compared to just a third who say the same for wearables. The study, which covered seven countries, asked consumers to choose which of 11 leading-edge technologies – from 3D printing to virtual reality to Internet of Things (IoT) would have an impact on their lives in the next few years with respondents able to choose as many technologies as they wished.

Data has been released for Brazil, USA, UK, Germany and South Korea with China and Japan to follow. The results indicate a strong international interest in smart home technology, with 51% of consumers backing it. This is well ahead of the 33% of people who believe wearables will impact their lives, and on a level with mobile payments at 54%.

Internationally, the areas of smart home technology applications that have greatest appeal for consumers are ‘security and control’ and ‘energy or lighting’ at 55% and 53% respectively, while ‘entertainment and connectivity’ came in third at 48%, according to GfK.

‘Health’ and ‘smart appliances’ were neck and neck in fourth place at 43% each. But when it comes to the different countries, this broad picture shows strong national variations – such as the appeal of security and control which stands at 38% in the UK, but higher at 54% in the USA and South Korea.

The leading barrier to smart home adoption is price, with over a third of people overall quoting this as a barrier, followed by privacy concerns, cited by a quarter. 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 is poor internet connection.

Ranj Dale, GfK’s head of technology research in the UK and manager of the smart home study, said: “We’re seeing interesting national variations in practically all the areas we looked at - whether it’s the level of appeal that the various smart home areas have in different markets, or the perceived barriers to adoption or the preference for single or multiple suppliers.”

Dale added: “It’s very much a case that each market has its own specific response to, and requirements for, smart home technology. Our research is already helping our clients understand international demand for smart home technology and what specific factors will drive that demand – as well as how to fine tune their approach within each market.”

When it came to consumers’ preference on whom they trust to supply their smart home technology, 45% wanted a single vendor to provide everything, while 29% favoured having a range of vendors. But even here there are national differences. For example, while consumers in most countries favour a utility supplier to provide the energy or lighting aspect of their smart home, South Korean consumers much prefer an electronics manufacturer to take the lead.

GfK interviewed over 7,000 adults aged 16 and over in Germany, UK, USA, Brazil, South Korea, China and Japan, with interviews conducted online. Respondents were recruited to be nationally representative of online users in each market. Fieldwork was carried out in September and October 2015.

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May, 2021

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