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Insights to Consumer Behaviour and action - Josephine Maguire, SEAI

Aug 06, 2015


  1. 1. Insights to Consumer Behaviour Josephine Maguire 10 June 2015
  2. 2. Research Methodology Quantitative research carried out in 2013 & 2014 Nationally representative face-to-face survey 659 households with household decision maker Weighted to the CSO population in terms of spread Supplemented by qualitative research Additional references to CER research of a different nationally representative sample
  3. 3. General Attitudes to Spend & the Household 3
  4. 4. Consumer Mindset My Wallet My Way Self reward, convenience and control remain primary considerations in the consumer mind, in general and when considering energy investment The energy improvement journey Investment is expected to offer enhancement to the home experience and to be part of an on-going journey towards incremental improvement Demand and Command Post recession consumers are armed with a demand-command confidence. They demand transparency, value and accountability in investment decisions Home central Increased willingness to invest in the home, as more time is spent at home means comfort and value drive investment decisions Prevailing consumer trends reflected in the research:
  5. 5. Preferences for a 5,000 windfall Renovate joint 4th of 10 options Reward-Recovery dichotomy evident in expenditure decisions Pay off debts (recovery) and going on holidays (reward) are the two most popular activities in the event of a windfall (47%) The relevance of Home Central is evident in the number of consumers willing to invest: Home renovation interest level is at 14% in 2014 with an additional 14% indicating they would engage in home redecoration 3 in 5 respondents have carried out some home improvement in last 3 years, main one was home/room redecoration (43%)
  6. 6. 6 Home/Energy Improvement Interest & Awareness
  7. 7. Energy: A confusing landscape The energy landscape is fraught with confusion and complexity Energy costs from suppliers are little understood (just 6% can cite a unit cost of gas and 13% a unit cost of electricity, regardless of accuracy) Increase in number of offers/products available but low levels of product understanding ( only 17% of electricity customers and 19% of gas customers claim to fully understand electricity and gas offers) Decreasing levels of switching (12% electricity, 16% gas), indicating a reluctance to engage with the energy market (29% in 2011) Thus, the outcome of energy investment decisions made in this context cannot meet the Demand-Command consumer mindset Whilst input costs can be clearly specified, measures of success are less transparent due to knowledge deficits Implicit measures and expectations may be assumed, but the explicit outcome is not likely to be clear
  8. 8. Awareness and Attitude to Energy Improvement That may explain why awareness of energy efficiency measures is high and increasing, but the level undertaking improvements in the last 2-3 years is static 82% of respondents believe their home would benefit from some form of energy efficiency improvement (increase of 8% on 2013) Highest interest in rural communities and those aged 40-50s Most favoured measures include attic insulation, solar panels and window glazing Future interest is somewhat muted when action involved(14%) 36-55 year olds and those living in Urban areas are most likely to undertake energy improvements in next 5 years Most likely measures are lighting improvement, draught proofing, boiler and controls upgrade and attic insulation
  9. 9. Summary of Retrofitting Challenges The Consumer Journey Financing Accessible, flexible and cost effective finance Ability to repay Hidden costs Availability of grants or some incentive Unaware of savings or inability to calculate savings Emotional engagement required to break inertia. Knowledge What specifically do I need to do to my house? Where to source trusted suppliers for larger and complex jobs? How will I know its done to the proper standards? Information Upheaval Disruption of home Disturbance to life Fear Factornew Organising and project managing Where do I go to source infoto learn? What are the grants, incentives etc. What are the benefits? Message that the home, like a car, needs to be kept serviced (boiler upgrade)
  10. 10. 10 Energy Efficiency Improvement Payment Methods & Loan Repayments
  11. 11. Energy Improvements: Funding profile 61% cited expense as the main reason for not carrying out measures (down from 71% in 2013) the investment level: 57% would fund the initiatives from savings (65% in 2013) 44% would be willing to take out some form of loan to cover part of costs (up from 34% in 2013) The level at which consumers are willing to borrow is somewhat modest the average amount for those willing to borrow is 4,852 (2,899 :2013) with an average monthly repayment of 164, (96 in 2013) Evidence of the consumer mind-set of initiatives as an on-going journey of incremental energy improvement steps
  12. 12. Energy Improvements: Loans and Incentives When seeking a loan, the interest rate is most important (37%) Other considerations are also central such as: The flexibility of the loan in terms of timing 24% The payback period 21% The ease of securing approval 18% Top three incentives to increase home energy upgrades were assessed by consumers, and the My Wallet My Way traits of self reward, convenience and control are evident in the ranking of the options Cash Back once work is complete 87% Discount on Cost of Work upfront 82% Reduced Property Tax Based on a better BER 65%
  13. 13. Sources of Advice/ Recommendation on Energy Efficiency Improvements
  14. 14. Friends & family are the main sources of advice Consumer mind-set of maintaining control and valuing convenience means friends/neighbours and family rate as the highest source of advice on energy initiatives there is a noticeable increase in getting advice from local accredited contractors advice sourced from the energy supplier has declined
  15. 15. Thank you.