Smart Homes Have Broad Appeal in Germany, but Adoption Lags – eMarketer

A large majority of Germany’s internet users are open to the idea of smart home technologies, but there’s no rush to adoption, according to data from GfK. The research firm surveyed 1,000 internet users ages 16 and older online in September and October 2015. GfK also polled an equivalent population in six other countries, to gain a global perspective.

Barriers to Adopting Smart-Home Technologies According to Internet Users in Germany, Oct 2015 (% of respondents)

Across all markets sampled, 78% of respondents said the idea of a smart home was appealing to some degree. Germany registered a slightly lower level of interest, however, at 72%. This may reflect a slight conservatism in the national culture, or the fact that the population in Germany skews older than, say, in China, South Korea or Brazil. In those markets, at least 86% of web users found smart homes appealing.

Systems designed to make domestic lighting and other energy expenditure more efficient were the top interest among respondents in Germany, cited by 51%. About half (49%) mentioned the appeal of security and control systems, while 37% liked the idea of smart appliances. According to GfK, these are the same categories for which smart devices are already widely available. As a result, 26% of web users said they already owned at least one smart home device or product.

Primary Type of Vendor that Internet Users in Germany Trust to Provide Smart-Home Services, Oct 2015 (% of respondents)

On the other hand, manufacturers and retailers still have work to do convincing Germany’s consumers that smart home technology is a good investment. The standard of living is high in Germany; most residents are comfortably off and can afford to spend money on smart home products or devices if they consider them worthwhile. Yet, 42% of those polled said that purchase cost was a barrier to adopting smart home systems—the leading obstacle, in fact. In addition, more than one-third (35%) said they were concerned about the implications for their personal privacy. And 29% admitted their knowledge of smart home products was an issue.

The wide range of potential smart-home service providers is another hindrance. With so many vendors—including physical and online retailers, utility companies, telecoms firms and multinational tech businesses—vying to capture significant shares of this burgeoning market, consumers aren’t sure where to turn. One in five (19%) of the internet users surveyed by GfK said they would trust an electronics manufacturer to deliver such services. But at least one in 10 said they’d likely trust a retailer, a utility or a multinational firm instead. Moreover, 16% said they wouldn’t trust any company to provide connected services for their home.

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