Social networks and communication behaviour underlying smart home adoption in the UK

Emilie Vrain, Charlie Wilson

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27 Citations (Scopus)
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Consumer-facing digital innovations with the potential to reduce carbon emissions often exist in small market niches and their impact has been limited thus far. Using the established Diffusion of Innovations theory which considers interpersonal communication amongst social networks to be a vital mechanism for exchanging information, we conducted an online survey in the UK to investigate the social networks and communication behaviours of adopters and non-adopters of three different energy saving smart home technologies. Applying social network analysis and statistically testing hypotheses, our results reveal the potential social barriers to the diffusion of information, with social network structure and characteristics creating obstacles. This research provides necessary insights into real early adopters, confirms the importance of focussing research on the often-neglected social elements of diffusion theory and helps identify marketing strategies and policy actions using social mechanisms to accelerate a low carbon transition.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)82-97
Number of pages16
JournalEnvironmental Innovation and Societal Transitions
Early online date8 Dec 2020
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2021


  • Diffusion of Innovations
  • Social mechanisms
  • Climate change
  • Consumer-facing technology
  • Energy demand

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