Refrigerators, ovens, speakers, lighting and much more can be connected to the internet. These devices send and receive data online. Taken altogether, these are referred to as the Internet of Things or the Internet of Everything. Nearly three quarters (72 percent) of the Dutch population aged 12 years or older indicated in 2020 that they had such a ‘smart’ device or system at home. 59 percent had a smart water, gas or electricity meter at home that can be read remotely. Over a quarter used a smart thermostat and two in ten a virtual assistant (e.g. Siri, Google Home, Amazon Alexa, Bixby) that can be controlled via an app or a smart speaker.
Lighting, smart plugs or other systems for smart living as well as smoke detectors, security cameras or other security systems are less commonly used: 14 and 11 percent, respectively, said they used such systems at home. Six percent had household appliances such as a robot vacuum cleaner, refrigerator or coffeemaker that were connected to the internet at home.
|Usage (% of people
aged 12 and over)
|Smart water, gas or
|Virtual assistant via app
or smart speaker
|Smart lighting, smart plugs or
other smart-living systems
|Smoke detectors, security cameras
or other safety systems
|Smart home appliances
Some have no need for smart devices
Some people see the Internet of Things as a technological leap forward, while others exhibit reluctance. Of those who indicated not to use smart devices or systems at home, 77 percent cited a lack of need as the reason. High costs or concerns about privacy or security were each cited by a quarter as (one of the) reasons.
Less-frequently cited reasons were unfamiliarity with such devices and systems, unfamiliarity with their use, concerns about personal safety and health and that other devices at home could not be connected to the internet.
|Reason for not having smart device (% of people aged 12 and over
without smart device at home)
|Privacy or safety concerns
|Unfamiliarity with smart devices
|Unfamiliarity with their use
|Concerned about health risks
|Unable to connect other devices
|1)More than one answer possible
Smartwatch and activity tracker in demand
In addition to smart devices and systems for the home, nearly 20 percent used smart accessories, such as a smartwatch or activity tracker. Ten percent had a car with a built-in internet connection. In 2020, six percent used smart devices for health, such as scales or a blood pressure monitor. In 2020, six percent used smart devices for health, such as scales or a blood pressure monitor.
The Netherlands takes the lead in smart home devices
The Netherlands is ahead of the rest in Europe when it comes to share of the population owning a smart electricity meter, thermostat or smart lighting. In 2020, 69 percent of the population aged 16 to 74 years owned such devices; the EU average was 8 percent. The reason for the Netherlands’ top position in the EU ranking is the availability of smart water, gas and electricity meters in many Dutch households.
The Netherlands is also a front runner in the use of virtual assistants via an app or smart speaker; in 2020 these were used by 20 percent. The EU average was 11 percent. Less popular in the Netherlands are smart smoke detectors, security cameras and household appliances such as automatic vacuum cleaners, smart refrigerators or smart coffee makers; in 2020 the Netherlands ranked sixth and seventh respectively in the use of such devices.