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A nation nerdy about numbers

Data-obsessed Brits spend 183 hours a year tracking everything from steps and screen time to sleep

  • HALF (35%) of Brits are addicted to crunching numbers about their lifestyle
  • The average Brit tracks SIX aspects of their lives, spending 30 minutes every day analysing data - the equivalent of 183 hours every year
  • HOWEVER when it comes to energy, 76% have no idea how much they use around the house, according to new research from Smart Energy GB, the campaign for a smarter Britain
  • Top three things Brits check on a daily basis include steps (51%), fitness (38%) and heart rate (34%)
  • Research commissioned to encourage the use of smart meters to track energy use and show how Brits have the power to make a big difference this January, marking the launch of Big Energy Saving Week

A new study reveals that whilst data obsessed Brits spend 183 hours monitoring every waking moment of their lives, they're still in the dark about energy usage around the home.

Brits have an average of six apps or tracking tools, measuring everything from steps to REM sleep, and spend 30 minutes every day crunching the numbers. Steps and movement (51%), fitness (38%) and heart rate (34%) were named as the top three checked most regularly.

However, the research, commissioned to encourage the use of smart meters in British homes during Big Energy Saving Week and beyond, found the desire for detail doesn't stretch to measuring the impact our gas and electricity has on the environment.

Three quarters (76%) of Brits admit they haven't the foggiest how much energy they use at home.

When asked about the area of their life they feel they know the most about, weight (36%), sleep (34%), steps and movement (33%) and finances (33%) all far outscored energy usage (14%). Four in 10 (40%) admitted it is part of their behaviour they know the least about.

In fact, over half (59%) do not know how to track their energy usage at all, and 50% said they will just pay their gas and electricity bill without bothering to investigate it further.

This comes despite 59% of respondents saying the use of analytical tools enables them to take control of their lives.

More than half (53%) find the process of tracking and monitoring addictive, while a quarter (26%) use the information they glean as motivation to improve. A fifth (22%) say it makes it easier for them to set goals.

Four one in five (19%) nerding over their numbers is such a fixation, they rate it more important than dating.

With the average January night in consisting of watching TV or a film (76%), cooking dinner (62%) and putting the heating on (53%), one in five (21%) still felt having a night in was good for the environment despite the energy used. Shockingly, nearly one in five (17%) said they never consider their energy usage when spending time at home. 

Encouragingly, the study found there is appetite to find out more about their environmental impact. 42% said they want to do more to save the planet but don't know where to start. Half (50%) said they would find it easier to do their bit for the environment if they could monitor their energy usage more closely at home.

Robert Cheesewright of Smart Energy GB said: "This research shows that as a nation we are keen to quantify our performance in so many aspects of our lives. But for many of us, our energy use is missing from that equation.

"Installing a smart meter in your home is a really easy hassle-free step giving you more control over your day to day energy use. Which in turn reduces the impact your energy use has on the environment via it's real time updates."

Over half of Brits (54%) agreed that we should be tracking our energy usage using technology such as smart meters just as much as we track other aspects of our lifestyles.

One of the easiest ways to become more energy efficient at home is to get a smart meter installed. Smart meters help households to become more aware of their energy use and take steps to reduce it, while also improving energy efficiency.

Their portable in-home displays allow you to see how much energy you are using, as well as how much it's costing you in pounds and pence, in near real time.

Using data from smart meters, a smart energy system can prevent waste at source by making far better assessments of the nation's energy needs. This reduces our carbon footprint and contributed to the ongoing battle against climate change.

Currently though, energy usage comes last (11%) in the top factors Brits track about their lives, with the top ten being:

  1. Steps & movement (51 per cent)
  2. Fitness (39 per cent)
  3. Heart rate (34 per cent)
  4. Sleep (25 per cent)
  5. Weight (24 per cent)
  6. Diet (22 per cent)
  7. Screen time (19 per cent)
  8. Finances/budgets/spending/investments (17 per cent)
  9. Data usage (15 per cent)
  10. Locations visited (12 per cent)

To find out more visit


Notes to editors

For more information please contact [email protected] or call 020 3950 7552


*Research by OnePoll of 2,000 UK adults (15th - 16th January 2020)

About smart meters and the rollout

Britain is committed to a cleaner future - one with zero carbon, zero emissions and reduced pollution.

To make this happen, our nation requires a major upgrade to its energy infrastructure, specifically, it requires the creation of a smart energy network. Smart meters, which replace traditional, analogue meters, are the building blocks of a more reliable, clean and affordable energy infrastructure, allowing Great Britain to better manage energy use, transition to mass uptake of electric vehicles and to build a greener economy.

There are already over 15.6 million smart meters installed in homes and microbusinesses across Great Britain. Every household in England, Scotland and Wales can now see their energy use in near real time, receive accurate bills and do their bit for the planet, by requesting a smart meter, at no extra cost, from their energy supplier.

About Smart Energy GB

Smart Energy GB is the campaign for a smarter Britain. It's our task to help everyone in Great Britain understand smart meters, the national rollout and how to use their new meters to be cleaner and greener with their energy use. Our national campaign is reaching households and microbusinesses in England, Scotland and Wales. For more information visit our website