Gas and electricity may be next ‘add to my shopping basket’ item for online consumers, says smart meter boss

There is a strong appetite among consumers to buy their gas and electricity from ‘lifestyle services companies’, new research reveals today.

Experts predict that the increasing digitisation of the energy sector –  such as the current rollout of smart meters to every home across Britain –  will soon make it possible for supermarkets, online retailers, film subscription services, broadband providers and even banks, to provide energy as part of wider package of lifestyle services.

In a move away from traditional suppliers, many people said they would be interested in buying energy from companies such as broadband providers like BT, supermarkets such as Tesco and TV subscription service providers.  Almost one fifth of people (18%) said they would be interested in buying it from a music streaming service such as Spotify.

The research, Consumer attitudes to Lifestyle Service Companies, by Smart Energy GB, also found that:

  • People with a smart meter were more likely to find the idea of buying energy as part of a ‘lifestyle’ package appealing (58 per cent as opposed to 50 per cent)
  • Half of those surveyed (50 per cent) found the idea of buying energy as part of a lifestyle package appealing
  • The concept is even more appealing to 18 – 34s, with almost two thirds (63 per cent) saying they found it appealing
  • Around half of those surveyed would be interested in buying energy as part of a package from broadband providers (49 per cent) or supermarkets (48 per cent), with other potential suppliers also being of interest

Additional benefits for buying energy as part of a package to make it more appealing are when there is a financial advantage such as cost savings (81 per cent) or benefits such as discount vouchers (74 per cent).

Sacha Deshmukh, chief executive, Smart Energy, commented: “This research provides a hugely exciting glimpse for businesses and consumers alike into what a future with a fully digitised energy infrastructure will look like.

“Not only will our home services become more streamlined, but a world of possibilities will open up when it comes to buying gas and electricity.

“That future isn’t as far away as you might think – the option to buy energy in a different way, from a different type of company, is a key benefit of smart meters.

“Not only that, but the enthusiasm of smart meter users for lifestyle service packages is further evidence that the smart meter rollout is an essential step on the path to a smarter world.”

14 Mar 2018

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