Bye Alexa! UK consumers prioritise energy technology over other smart home devices, OVO research finds

07 February 2018

  • Nearly one in five UK consumers would choose to add a smart meter to their home before any other smart technology device
  • Over the next five years, 14 percent of UK consumers expect to add a smart thermostat for their home, compared to 12 percent expecting to purchase an Artificial Intelligence (AI) device
  • More than half of UK consumers choose a home technology device based on its usefulness. A third prioritise convenience over style (11 percent) and price (14 percent)

LONDON; 5TH FEBRUARY 2018 – Despite the Artificial Intelligence (AI) hype, almost one in five UK consumers would prioritise purchasing a smart meter for their home over any other smart technology device, according to research from YouGov commissioned by OVO Energy.

When asked which smart technology device they would first buy for their home, the survey of 2,000 UK adults found that 18 percent would opt for a smart meter, compared to six percent who would choose an AI home device, such as Amazon Echo, and just three percent said a robotic device.

Over the next five years, energy technology (EnTech) is expected to grow in popularity, with fourteen percent of UK consumers expecting to purchase a smart thermostat for their home. This increase compares to 12 percent expecting to purchase an AI device, such as a Google Home. Furthermore, one in 10 say they expect to purchase an electric vehicle in this time frame.

The research from OVO Energy, the UK’s leading independent energy provider, uncovers the UK’s attitudes towards some of the much-hyped smart home technologies and also looks to challenge some commonly held myths around smart meters. While people are clearly recognising the value of smart meters and other energy efficient technologies, the study showed people are unaware of the other benefits the devices can offer now and will be able to offer in future.

From everyday benefits such as being able to keep your smart meter when switching providers (65 percent of UK adults were unaware this was possible) to the more complex benefits of the technology in terms of the shift towards a digitised and decarbonised energy system, the misunderstandings about what smart meters can offer are widespread. The research shows:

  • 82 percent of UK adults didn’t know that owning a smart meter could give them access to more flexible tariffs
  • 47 percent weren’t aware it is possible to connect your smartphone to monitor energy usage on the go
  • 87 percent didn’t know that smart meters, when combined with EnTech software and storage devices, could enable you to sell energy back to the grid
  • 84 percent didn’t know a smart meter, working with EnTech software and storage devices, could help them buy energy at the cheapest time of the day
  • 91 percent didn’t expect smart meters to aid in storing energy generated from solar panels when combined with other EnTech software and storage devices

Melissa Gander, Energy Director, OVO Energy, said “Smart meters are the gateway to so many exciting and new ways for us to think about how we generate, bill and use energy. From the research, it is promising to see the clear demand for energy efficient technology”.

OVO Energy has nearly one million customers of which more than 45% have smart meters and are able to save money by actively monitoring and viewing their account online or using the My OVO app.

Melissa continued: “Smart meters have added value to millions of customers across the UK, offering innovative features to manage energy usage while also supporting future-facing technologies to make energy cleaner and more abundant for everyone. But we don’t want anyone to miss out. More needs to be done to raise awareness of the benefits of smart meters when optimised to their full potential, to provide everyone access to the latest energy technologies and enable a shift to a fully digitised energy future”.

Read our practical guide on smart thermostats and how they can help you control your heating from everywhere and reduce your energy bills.


Notes to Editors
For more information or to request an interview, please contact:
Email: [email protected]
Telephone: 0207 260 2700

About the research:
All figures, unless otherwise stated, are from YouGov Plc. Total sample size was 2057 adults. Fieldwork was undertaken between 19th - 22nd January 2018. The survey was carried out online. The figures have been weighted and are representative of all UK adults (aged 18+).

About OVO Energy
OVO Energy is one of the leading independent energy suppliers in Britain. Founded in 2009 by entrepreneur Stephen Fitzpatrick, OVO Energy redesigned the energy experience to be fair, effortless, green and simple for all customers. With a mission of creating the world’s most trusted energy company, OVO Energy has attracted nearly 800,000 customers and has been recognised as the uSwitch Energy Supplier of the Year.