Research: Consumer appetite for smart homes is growing – but several concerns remain – IoT Tech News

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Mindshare, in association with SharpEnd, has launched the results of the first in-depth study into connected products in the home and the opportunity it offers to household brands.

The researchers took a unique approach with their study and built ten connected “product and packaging” prototypes which five households trialled over the course of two weeks. The product trials were paired with a survey into the attitudes of 1000 UK smartphone users towards the Internet of Things and connected packaging. 

Over half of the consumers (64%) responded they’re interested to have everyday objects connected which is evidence of the appetite for IoT products. This corroborates with research from Berg Insights released this morning, who reports the number of smart homes in Europe and North America reached 17.9 million in 2015 – a 56 percent year-on-year growth. 

“There is no doubt that regular consumers in the future will own and operate a wide range of connected objects in their homes, from connected home appliances and luminaires to thermostats and security devices,” said Johan Svanberg, Senior Analyst, Berg Insight. 

However, Berg notes the European market is 2–3 years behind North America in terms of penetration and market maturity. At the end of 2015, there were 5.3 million smart homes in Europe and the market is forecasted to grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 54 percent in the next five years to reach 44.9 million smart homes by 2020, corresponding to 20 percent of all European households. 

“The smart home market is still in its infancy and many smart home ecosystems are underdeveloped and products are often complicated to use. Attractive use cases, interoperable devices and well-implemented user interfaces are needed in order to accelerate the market,” adds Svanberg. 

Respondents to Mindshare’s survey are keen on connected packaging as long as it offers clear benefits. 62 percent find the idea of a product which alerts you or reorders itself when about to run out appealing, whilst 58 percent find the idea of a product reminding you when it is about to reach its expiry date appealing. 

What’s interesting about this finding is that more people are willing to give up control to connected packaging completely, although just 39 percent agree with the statement ‘I would consider a service contract with a brand where it automatically reorders and delivers products for me.’ 

Jeremy Pounder, Futures Director at Mindshare commented: “With the number of connected products in existence (excluding smartphones and computers) set to increase from 5 billion today to 21 billion by 2020, now is the time for brands to begin to experiment. The brands and marketers that have prepared for the advent of connected packaging and fully considered the implications for their businesses will be in the prime position to capitalise on the opportunity.” 

Almost two-thirds (62%) of consumers are willing for connected products to collect data if they get something in return. However, 76 percent are concerned about how and when the products can interact with a user and want to be in full control. Despite this, consumers appear to want direct control over each product and just 35 percent want ‘a virtual assistant to manage all of the interactions with products for me’ – which may not bode well for the likes of Siri, Alexa, Cortana, and Google Assistant. 

What are your thoughts on the research? Let us know in the comments.

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