The smart home is finally becoming an important part of the lives of the average person living in the UK. In fact, demand for smart home products has soared 135% year-on-year, largely thanks to the likes of the Amazon Echo and Google Home.

At least that’s according to technology retailer Maplin, which is launching the Maplin Smart Meter to gauge consumer interest in the sector. The company has revealed that 24% of people in the UK now own a smart home product, that includes everything from smart hubs to lighting.

The installation industry still promises to offer the most cohesive experience in the smart home, but it appears that consumers are not yet willing to shell out large sums for that privilege. In fact, consumers who bought smart home products spent an average of £174 on the technology in the last year – much lower than the sum required for a custom installed solution.

Demand continues to increase in the smart home market, with Maplin estimating that 71% of consumers are already considering buying their first or additional smart home products. It’s expected that the potential worth of the market is more than £6 billion per year.

There are many reasons why people may want to install some sort of smart home system, although most people cited problems that can easily be solved by plug-and-play systems. 46% of consumers cited forgetting to turn the lights off as a reason to acquire smart home products, while 37% said forgetting to switch off plugs. In fact, smart plugs are the best-selling smart products at Maplin, with smart lighting coming in fourth.

Products such as Philips Hue have become universally popular with consumers. In 2013, it was estimated that Hue accounted for 5% of all lighting sales at Philips. That number has likely increased dramatically as more options come on the market, combined with an increased awareness in smart home products.

So, what is fuelling all this demand in the smart home? Well, according to Maplin it’s the voice-activated devices that offer a central control system of smart home that is really enticing customers. 38% of consumers have cited it as their most desirable product, with the Amazon Echo the most wanted at 22% of consumers. With Apple and Google also vying for dominance, the market is only going to grow further.

The main reasons consumers want smart technology in their homes are: safety (56%), followed by making their lives easier (53%), and saving money (53%). However, price was the main factor which could dissuade consumers from buying smart home technology (68%).

While 93% of consumers have heard of smart home products, more than half (55%) admit they do not fully understand it.

Oliver Meakin, CEO of Maplin, says: “The smart home market is growing at an astonishing rate as consumers seek more connected homes. The convenience and peace of mind these products offer is proving popular. With Silicon Valley’s tech giants launching competing entertainment products before the end of the year, smart hubs look set to become Christmas 2017’s must have tech gifts. If the current growth in demand for Smart Home products continues, they will soon become as common as smart phones.”

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