Energy Crisis Ignites Demand for Smart Thermostats
After several years of relatively flat growth, smart thermostats are becoming a hot smart home product again. Increasing time at home due to the COVID-19 pandemic has resulted in consumers spending more money on home improvement and smart home solutions are one of key investment areas. The energy crisis and Russia’s invasion of Ukraine are additional factors that are driving consumers to seek out smart energy solutions as are lower priced smart thermostats and growing utility demand response programs.
3 in 5 Smart Home Users Have a Smart Thermostat
ON World’s 2021-2022 surveys with 1,000 smart home users and consumers who are interested in smart home technologies in North America and Europe found two-thirds are planning to purchase smart thermostats or additional smart thermostat products in the next two years. Of the respondents who are smart home users, 3 in 5 currently own a smart thermostat. In addition, 70% are planning to purchase smart thermostats in the future and 46% are planning two or more.
IEA Energy Efficiency Joint Statement
According to the IEA in a recent Joint Statement that was endorsed by 26 participating countries and regions, Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has made it urgent to accelerate implementation of energy efficiency at a global level. The IEA statement notes that high energy prices and volatility makes energy efficiency and demand side action particularly important now “to reduce energy costs and reduce reliance on imported fuels.”The Russian invasion of Ukraine has had a mixed impact on consumers. High energy prices and inflation rates have resulted in lower consumer confidence, but crime rates continue to rise in both the EU and the US. In a Q1 2022 survey of smart home users in Europe, 36% are more likely to buy safety and security products due to the Ukraine War.
Self-learning energy efficiency is a popular smart thermostat feature that is increasingly being integrated in tier one products such as Ecobee’s 4th generation model, Nest and Tado. In addition, self-learning features are available through smart home services by Comcast Xfinity Home, Centrica and Vivint as well as energy management software such as EcoFactor (Trane), EnergyHub (Alarm.com) and Heat Genius. Software-enabled learning thermostats is a growing trend for utility demand response programs.
Remote Temperature Sensors
Many smart thermostats today use remote temperature sensors to optimize room-level comfort and energy efficient with a remote (external) temperature sensor that costs a fraction of a complete smart thermostat. Our survey with smart home users found that 2 in 5 of the Europeans and 1 in 4 of the North Americans use remote temperature sensors with their smart thermostats. North American early adopters have purchased an average of 2 remote temperature sensors over the last two years. Nearly half (45%) are planning to purchase two or more remote temperature sensors in the next two years.
Lower Priced Smart Thermostats
Smart thermostat prices are dropping rapidly with several new models that are under $100 that removes one of the biggest inhibitors for mass market adoption. Examples include Amazon’s smart thermostat, Google’s Nest E, GE’s Cync smart thermostat and Zen, available through Comcast’s Xfinity Home service. Using energy management software such as those described above, these lower priced models can be transformed into learning thermostats which means consumers get a lower priced model with the same or similar functionality to the more expensive models.
ON World predicts that these trends will result in smart thermostats being used in 34% of households in North America by 2028 from 15% in 2021.
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