Comparing Consumer Preferences for Smart Homes in the UK, Germany and Italy
"Consumer Preferences for Smart Homes: A Comparative Study between the UK, Germany, and Italy" aims to deliver significant, comparative insights into consumer attitudes towards energy and resource efficient smart home technologies and the potential for consumer acceptance of these technologies. The study will be used to gain knowledge about how country specific characteristics such as institutional support or cultural aspects affect the uptake of smart home technologies. The purpose of the study is to give decision makers and energy providers an idea of consumer interests and issues concerning smart home products and services.
A smart home is a living space, which is designed and equipped for optimal energy and resource efficiency. As the residential housing sector accounts for an increasingly significant proportion of energy consumption and greenhouse gas emissions, technologies which improve home energy efficiency are gaining interest in climate and energy policymaking.
Within this context, this study aims to answer several key research questions including:
- How do consumer perceptions for smart homes vary across different consumer segments within a country?
- How do consumer perceptions differ between the UK, Germany, and Italy? What perceptions are similar across the countries?
- What are the implications for policymakers and energy providers?
The project involves four work packages to achieve its goal. The first work package is used to conceptualise smart home energy services, defining the concept of a smart home and related energy services through a literature review and expert interviews. The second work package applies existing literature as well as quantitative datasets on energy consumption and the uptake of energy efficiency measures to provide insights in to consumer perceptions and preferences of new technologies and smart homes.
The third work package, led by Ecologic Institute, uses participatory research in the form of focus groups to understand real-world consumer preferences and acceptance regarding smart home technologies. Finally, the project team will synthesise the results, applying theories and principles from behavioural economics and marketing to draw implications for decision makers and energy providers across the UK, Germany, and Italy.
This project led by Policy Studies Institute at the University of Westminster is funded by E.ON’s International Research Initiative and has received the E.ON Research Award 2012.