Smart Devices with Privacy Focus Have More Consumer Appeal, According to Research by Sensi Smart Thermostats

Proactively addressing security could spur adoption even among non-tech savvy

Sensi Smart Thermostats has announced the findings from its “Smart Home Data Privacy” inaugural survey. The survey, commissioned by Emerson’s (NYSE: EMR) Climate Technologies business, asked 2,000 U.S. homeowners ages 18-76 to answer questions focusing on smart home product use and adoption. Key among the feedback was that 4 in 5 (80%) of smart thermostat owners and non-owners are concerned about smart thermostat manufacturers having access to personal data.

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Sensi Smart Thermostats announced the findings from its “Smart Home Data Privacy” inaugural survey. (Photo: Business Wire)

Sensi Smart Thermostats announced the findings from its “Smart Home Data Privacy” inaugural survey. (Photo: Business Wire)

“Our Sensi smart thermostat team set out to better understand consumer attitudes around smart home products and the potential barriers to widespread adoption, and what we discovered gave voice to a range of concerns which should be of interest to the entire industry,” said Craig Rossman, president of comfort control for Emerson’s Climate Technologies business. “Consumers have a clear interest in automating aspects of their home, but the data shows a large majority still have concerns about potentially trading privacy for convenience.”

Smart thermostat owners, who are significantly more likely than non-owners to be early adopters (53%) or comfortable with new technology (58%), expressed concerns regarding what personal information or usage data was being shared, whom it was being shared with, and the impact of this on their purchase decision:

  • Tracking: Most expect their thermostat might track relevant data like heating or cooling usage (49%) and temperature settings (45%)
  • Sharing: Consumers aren’t sure what kind of data is shared with manufacturers or what those manufacturers would use their data for. Around 1 in 5 respondents (19%) admit they’re not sure what kind of information is shared, and 1 in 3 were “much more concerned” about using their smart thermostats after learning more
  • Buying: 7 in 10 would be likely to replace their current thermostat with a brand that did not share data with third parties or use it in targeted advertising

Non-owners are also influenced by data collection and privacy when it comes to smart thermostat purchases:

  • They’re far less likely to agree (63%) that smart thermostat manufacturers are using their data responsibly
  • 45% say they’d be more likely to buy in the next 12 months if they knew of a brand with greater privacy protection

Respondents also expressed a preference for smart thermostats that reflect a greater degree of interest in control and return on investment. Smartphone controls (52%), ease of use (49%), and cost savings (46%) were among the four top reasons respondents gave for purchasing a smart thermostat. Reinforcing concerns about data collection and privacy protection, connectivity among other household devices (12%) was in the bottom three.

“As a leader in the HVAC industry, our business model for smart thermostats has never been built around leveraging our customers’ data for targeted advertising,” Rossman said. “We make smart devices with features consumers want and need to easily control their home comfort and help gain energy savings.”

For more information about how Sensi smart thermostats respect consumer privacy and to download the full report, please visit


Sensi smart thermostats engaged TRUE Global Intelligence, the in-house research practice of FleishmanHillard, to conduct an online survey of 2,000 U.S. homeowners aged 18-76 from October 26-November 9, 2022. Data was weighted at the total level by generation, region and income to be representative of the U.S. homeowner population. The margin of error is 2.2% and lower for subgroups.

About Emerson

Emerson (NYSE: EMR) is a global technology and software company providing innovative solutions for the world’s essential industries. Through its leading automation portfolio, including its majority stake in AspenTech, Emerson helps hybrid, process and discrete manufacturers optimize operations, protect personnel, reduce emissions and achieve their sustainability goals. For more information, visit

Emerson’s Climate Technologies business has more than 100 years of experience in heating ventilation and air conditioning technologies and solutions. Emerson announced in October 2022 an agreement to sell a majority stake in Climate Technologies to Blackstone.


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