New research released illustrates consumers’ attitudes and values related to energy, smart home technology, their electricity providers and more during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Modern Customer Engagement Journey, released by the Smart Energy Consumer Collaborative (SECC), includes five videos and a topline report developed from more than 30 on-camera interviews, recorded between 15 June to 2 July in the US and Canada.
The interviews focused on understanding the reasons behind consumers’ energy-related behaviours and decision-making at home and their views on their electricity providers, renewable energy and other important issues.
Key insights from the interviews include:
- Consumers are increasingly engaged with energy-related products and technologies, and smart home products – particularly smart speakers, thermostats and lighting – feel particularly interesting.
- After purchasing a first smart home device, consumers often have an appetite for more. Introductory products tend to be smart speakers, and once consumers are comfortable setting these up, they want to take the next step.
- When consumers make appliance upgrades at home, energy efficiency is a key factor that they consider – along with smart capabilities. Moving is an important catalyst for reassessing devices and appliances.
- Consumers often struggle with assessing the cost-saving potential of programmes and say they need more transparency on the savings from their electricity providers.
The interviews also investigated the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on household energy usage. While many consumers expressed that their bills had gone up due to staying at home more, few have made significant changes as a result. Some have made small behavioural adjustments (e.g., turning off lights and adjusting the thermostat), and others noted that larger technology investments are on hold for the foreseeable future.