Millennials Have Strong Interest in Smart Homes, Solar Energy, Digital Services

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Consumer demand for new energy-related products and services is high, especially for millennials (ages 18-34), demonstrating that this group will drive much of the future value for energy providers, according to new research by Accenture.

The research, The New Energy Consumer: Thriving in the Energy Ecosystem found that millennials bring a strong influence on key consumer engagement trends amid an increasingly complex set of competitors vying for energy products, services and experiences. Millennials want to be the first to sign up for new energy products and services – 24 percent of that demographic are classified as early adopters, compared with 17 percent among the 35-54 age range and seven percent of those over 55. Additionally, 22 percent of millennials said they wanted to experiment with new technologies, which was higher when compared with other age groups (15 percent for those aged 35-54 and six percent for those aged 55 or over).

When it comes to in home energy management, 61 percent are likely to sign up for an application to remotely monitor and control home elements in the next five years vs. 36 percent of those over 55. Notably, 56 percent of millennials, twice as many as people over 55, are likely to sign up for solar panels in the next five years.

Millennials’ expectations when it comes to use of digital channels are also higher. For example, they attach more importance than older demographics to a personalized experience across digital channels as well as access to the latest digital technologies that enable them to interact with their energy providers. Moreover, 83 percent would be discouraged from signing up for additional products and services if their provider could not provide a seamless experience.

“Energy providers must take these and other insights about these groups to heart, to unlock value, because consumers’ preferences and behaviors are rapidly changing the market landscape,” said Tony Masella, managing director of Accenture Energy Consumer Services. “Successful energy providers will place design thinking at the heart of their business and view customer and retail operations as a strategic asset.”

The survey also showed that new value propositions are of higher interest to millennials. Seventy-seven percent would be interested in an online personalized marketplace to select and purchase energy-related products and services. Additionally, just over a third would be interested in automated home solutions and would be willing to pay for them.

“Customer strategies must take a broad view of the trends shaping today’s consumers, and more importantly, the consumers of tomorrow,” added Masella. “To thrive, energy providers must move quickly to architect their transformation, build new capabilities to seize new opportunities, achieve scale and continuously innovate using digitalization, automation and multi-faceted operations.”

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