High-income households, under-40s lead smart home adoption

Friday 6 May 2016 | 12:30 CET | Background

Dutch consumers are becoming more interested in smart devices, but ownership of new gadgets like smart thermostats and connected security cameras is still low. The main groups interested in the devices are 20-39 year-olds, men, and households with above-average incomes, according to research by Telecompaper in March. 

Various platforms and providers are available in the Netherlands, such as KPN's SmartLife. KPN has adopted Deutsche Telekom's platform for smart home services. Google is also active, through its subsidiary Nest. Telecompaper asked 1,750 respondents in the Telecompaper Consumer Panel about their purchase intentions for seven types of connected device and if they already owned such a device. Compared to the previous survey in May 2015, there is a clear increase in adoption among certain consumer groups.

One in 20 households has a smart thermostat

Already 5 percent of households own a smart thermostat, such as the Toon or Nest models. This is the most popular of the connected devices. A security camera that offers remote access over a smartphone or tablet came second, with 4 percent, while a baby monitor or smart washing machine or dishwasher were the least popular. 

More homes with smart smoke alarm

A smart smoke alarm, that sends an alert to the smartphone when it detects fire, is owned by 3 percent of Dutch households. The share has increased compared to last year, from just 1 percent.

The other devices in the survey did not show any significant increase in ownership. This suggests that consumer intentions don't always translate into actual purchases. A year ago 6 percent of consumers said they expected to buy remotely controlled roller blinds or sun shades, but the latest survey shows only 2 percent actually own these, the same as in May 2015.

More interest in remote control lighting

The purchase intentions show more consumers are interested in remotely controlled lighting and smart smoke alarms. Eleven percent expect to buy smart lighting within a year, up from 8 percent a year ago, and purchase intentions for a smart smoke alarm rose to 14 percent of consumers from 11 percent in May 2015. The smoke alarm had the highest level of purchase intention out of all the devices.


Men more interested in connected devices

The research by Telecompaper also shows that men are more likely to own such devices than women. For example, 4 percent of men have remotely controlled lighting or a smart smoke alarm compared to 2 percent of women, and 5 percent use smart security cameras versus 3 percent of women.

Men are also more likely to say they plan to buy a smart thermostat (15% versus 11%), smart lighting (14% versus 9%), a security camera (14% versus 10%) or roller blinds (8% versus 5%). For the other devices, men and women had equal purchase intentions.

Under-40s have more connected devices

By age, the group 20-39 year-olds appears to be the most open to connected devices, with both the highest ownership levels and highest purchase intentions. The 30-year-olds were much more likely to have a smart thermostat, and security cameras are more often owned by 20-49 year-olds.


Not surprisingly, smart baby monitors are mainly popular among 30-39 year-olds - they are six times as likely to have such a device (6% versus 1% in total market). Connected roller blinds or solar shades are also more common in this age group, while 20-29 year-olds were more likely to have remote-control lighting (6% versus 4% in market).

Adoption of connected devices is lowest among the older age groups. They are less likely to own such devices and also less likely to say they plan to buy them in the next year.

Higher income leads to more devices

Households with a higher gross income are more likely to own the smart devices. Among households earning EUR 60,000 per year or more, 11 percent have smart thermostats, compared to 5 percent across the market.



Especially households with over EUR 80,000 in annual income showed a high level of adoption of smart devices. Only baby monitors tied to a smartphone app showed no difference in penetration. A connected washing machine was eight times more likely to be in a home with this level of income, and connected smoke alarms, lighting and roller blinds were three times more common in this income group.

Remotely controlled lighting systems were also more popular among household earning EUR 50,000-80,000 per year, at 7 percent versus 3 percent in the total market. A connected baby monitor was five times more common among households with an annual income of EUR 60,000-80,000.

This research is based on the Telecompaper Consumer Panel. The survey was conducted in March 2016 (n=1,758), and the same question was posed in May and June 2015 (n=897). Results are stratified according to age, gender and education. For more information about the panel and market research opportunities, please contact research@telecompaper.com.

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