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Privacy concerns and costs are top barriers for the adoption of smart home devices

Saf Malik
July 9, 2021

New techUK report finds COVID-19 has increased Asia-Europe shipping costs

techUK’s new report in partnership with GfK has found that while the smart home has become more of a reality for households in the past year, barriers to purchasing such as cost (59 per cent) and privacy (51 per cent) remain. 

The study showed that demand and consumer appeal rose during the pandemic and COVID-19 saw UK consumers buying 21.8 million smart home devices, a 22 per cent rise in volume, with smart TVs and speakers leading the higher sales.

This comes as the pandemic has increased Asia-Europe shipping costs where many smart home devices are produced. GfK data shows prices are increasing and this trend is set to dampen consumer demand even further.

techUK set out a series of recommendations for the government and the wider industry to support continued deployment of smart home products: 

  • While “smart home” is a familiar concept to consumers, tech firms and retailers should focus on communicating the tangible consumer benefits of smart and connected home devices and to reassure consumers on ease of use, interoperability, and privacy  
  • With interoperability a mainstream concern for consumers, it needs to be a priority for manufacturers. Failure to address these risks seeing reducing demand, increasing frustrations and creating a perception that smart home tech does not meet expectations 
  • Regulation and policy on product safety, cyber security, and net zero need to be aligned. All the various policies and strategies need to complement each other and be trusted by stakeholders. With the UK developing so much policy post-Brexit, there needs to be real care and attention to consistent approaches and shared goals 
  • Government should promote smart appliance adoption in the UKs future product policy framework. Smart appliances that support a flexible energy system and offer safety advantages should be seen as routes to meeting climate, energy and product safety goals 
  • There needs to be a stronger understanding of how smart home tech can play a key role in delivering a fully flexible energy system.  

Following the recommendations would help the smart home market grow from $78bn this year to $182bn by 2025.

techUK head of devices Craig Melson said: “The pandemic has really demonstrated how important digital technology has become in keeping us connected, entertained, productive and educated, and the data shows how familiar the public has become with smart home tech. People really see the benefits of connected devices now and the challenge for tech firms is to make sure all the devices work together and instil the highest possible confidence that it will just work.”



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