As part of our ongoing research programme, the Microgen Insight Service team held focus groups in March 2013 to gauge awareness of microgeneration technologies among owner occupiers. So, what do they think of microgeneration?
Generally the results highlighted an improvement in awareness to microgeneration (compared to research carried out by Delta-ee in 2012). However, in contrast to last year, fear has become a much stronger barrier to uptake, with some customers stating this as a bigger concern over the up-front costs of the technology. This fear can manifest itself in a variety of ways – but it is clear that the latest delay to the domestic RHI will, for many, reinforce the lack of trust in incentives and undermine customer confidence in the technology further.
Some of the key themes from the focus groups are highlighted below:
In principle, customers like many of the new technologies and their awareness of these technologies is improving.
Compared to last year’s research, the Delta-ee focus groups revealed that customers have an improving awareness of microgeneration. Emerging technologies also have high customer appeal in principle. Most participants were open to trying new technology – “I’m not in love with my boiler, I would try something new.”
What’s stopping home-owners from investing in new technologies?
The majority of responses to this question were fear and cost. Many feel that up-front cost is a key barrier, and compared to our results 12 months ago, home owners are much more fearful.
The ‘magic 5% of customers’ (see There’s a “magic 5%” of customers out there – but what will make them buy?) are more sensitive to up-front costs than ever. Green issues and other motivations for installing have become weaker – it’s all about cost for many people.
Home owners are also scared of making the wrong decision and are sceptical about the reliability of government incentives. They worry about the performance and longevity of new technology, and being stuck with something which has quickly become obsolete. They feel that investing in new technology would be a ‘leap of faith’ at this stage, and that many of the promises made about benefits are ‘too good to be true’.
How can I find the magic 5% of customers who DO want to invest?
Subscribers to the Delta-ee Microgen Insight Service have access to the latest customer research, which combined with market, policy and techno-economic analysis, helps to build robust forecasts and helps subscribers build the strongest proposition they can. The types of support we have identified that would win over the magic 5% includes:
- A longer than average warranty – which would include free maintenance and parts if the system breaks down.
- A servicing and maintenance contract – which many are willing to pay for.
- Independent Energy Advisors – to offer neutral advice and be a go-to person.
- A safety net – protecting customers and providing a source of technical support if their system breaks, and the installer is no longer in business.
- Bespoke case studies – demonstrating the fuel bill savings they could expect in a home like theirs.
Subscribing to our Microgen Insight Service will help your business to make the best decisions today and develop the right propositions for the right customers. For more information email me at Jennifer.email@example.com or call me on +44 (0) 131 625 1009.