Are Belgian consumers ready to digitalize their home?
Digitalization and Home, these two words have been a hot topic since the coronavirus started spreading worldwide. Our home needed to transform into our office, school, fitness centre, and restaurants. In the light of this context, it's maybe not a big surprise to hear that about half of Belgians said that they are interested in Smart Home (GfK Multiscope, 2021).
Wait, what is Smart Home?
Smart Home refers to a home set-up where different appliances and devices can be controlled wirelessly via a mobile or another device within the network. For instance, when you have a smart light bulb, you can turn on and off your lights or change the colors of the light via your smartphone and, moreover, you could even program the lighting schedule based on your preference on time, condition of the weather outside, and so on.
How many Belgian consumers use Smart Home devices already?
According to the GfK Multiscope study, 40% of Belgian consumers said that they have at least one Smart Home device in their home. When we look at the highest social class, this goes up to 55%. Considering that Smart Home devices are often more expensive, this seems rather logical. The most commonly owned Smart Home devices by Belgians were smart TV's (owned by 25% of Belgian consumers), smart thermostats (7%), smart lamps (6%), fitness trackers (5%), smart robot vacuum cleaners (5%), and smart washing machines (5%). Moreover, about half of those who do not currently have Smart Home devices, reported that they are interested in Smart Home. Looking at these numbers, it seems like Belgian consumers are willing to digitalize their home (more) in the future.
What would accelerate the speed of Smart Home adoption?
Despite the positive outlook of Smart Home in the Belgian market, when you are looking at product level, most Smart Home products are adopted by only a small majority (e.g., the second most popular Smart Home device – smart thermostats – is own by only 7% of Belgians), which clearly suggests that something needs to change in order for the majority to adopt these Smart Home products. According to the survey, the number one barrier for adopting Smart Home products was a high price, followed by fear of being hacked. In other words, introducing more affordable Smart Home products and gaining trust from consumers about digital security will help boost the adoption speed. Furthermore, our results showed that being able to control own devices, saving energy, and more convenience were the main drivers to adopt Smart Home. Therefore, the Smart home products manufacturers and retailers should focus on these benefits when talking about Smart Home devices.
A fundamental shift in consumers’ perception is needed for Smart Home to succeed.
All in all, these results tell us that Smart Home products are seen as a sort of luxury tech goods that are nice-to-have and not really a must-have towards most Belgian consumers. In fact, when we are looking at those who did not find Smart Home interesting, not having needs for Smart Home (42%) was the second biggest barrier for adopting Smart Home, following closely after high costs (43%). Therefore, for Smart Home to succeed, it is key for Smart Home manufacturers to change the current perception of Smart Home by introducing more affordable products and/or convincing how Smart Home lifestyle would bring more convenience and cost-saving in the long-term without jeopardizing their digital security.
Article by Freyia Han