UK vs. US: The Race for IoT Adoption

Market findings from Eseye's 2023 State of IoT Adoption report

Eseye author


IoT Hardware and Connectivity Specialists


Eseye’s 2023 State of IoT Adoption survey was our biggest yet with 1,009 responses, evenly split between the United Kingdom and the United States. Here’s how the two markets measure up against each other, where they cross and where they diverge.

The current state of IoT and its future potential

Did you know that the United States is about 40 times larger than the United Kingdom? The US economy is twice the size of the UK at $2.45 trillion. Let’s see how they stack up when it comes to IoT…

Our research found that overall the US has more IoT devices in the field than companies in the UK which suggests that this market is further ahead with adopting IoT than its friends across the pond. 67% of US respondents said they had between 1,001 to 100,000 devices deployed versus 60% in the UK.

Despite how much larger the US is than the UK market, the competition is healthy as UK respondents reported a higher proportion of large-scale IoT estates with 6% in the region of 10,001 to 100,000 compared to the US which has 3% which suggests the UK was an earlier adopter. The US however has a considerably larger percentage of mid-size IoT estates in the region of 5,001 to 10,000 (26%) compared to the UK with 17%.

When looking ahead to the next two years, US respondents indicated that they are looking to expand their IoT estates more than their UK counterparts with 83% versus 79% of respondents looking to increase. The US is also less likely to decrease their estate (5%) compared to the UK where 7% of respondents expect estates to get smaller.

This projected IoT estate growth noted in the US may account for why budgets are rising quicker than in the UK by 12%. 78% of US respondents plan to increase IoT investments compared to only 66% in the UK.

This investment pattern can be spotted year after year. In 2022 US budgets were slightly higher with 98% planning increases versus 95% in the UK. The divide is widening with time as the US noses ahead with IoT plans in 2023.

How is IoT benefiting the UK and the US?

Any business stands to benefit from IoT and the wealth of data and insights it provides. We asked respondents what benefits have their IoT initiatives either delivered or are predicted to deliver and to tick all that apply.

In the US, there was a joint number one benefit. Respondents revealed that IoT has or will create operational efficiencies (57%) and increase revenue (57%). The US is also using IoT to deliver new lines of business and products more when compared to their UK counterparts (US 55% and UK 41%).

Over in the UK, the number one benefit was similar as respondents are using IoT to increase revenue (UK 54%). Coming in at a close second was reducing costs (UK 50%) and third creating operational efficiencies (49%).

In 2022 the top benefit cited for IoT projects in the US was creating operational efficiencies (31%) whereas the UK said increasing profit (30%).

Top challenges impacting IoT success

Although both markets are achieving marked success with IoT there are a few hurdles that might thwart its full potential.

Connectivity issues are holding UK respondents back with 68% disclosing that their IoT devices fail to connect due to an issue with the hardware versus 59% in the US[1]. When comparing countries, respondents in the US are achieving higher connectivity levels than their counterparts in the UK. This indicates that UK IoT initiatives are at a potential disadvantage. This is further supported by the fact that UK respondents were more dissatisfied with their connectivity supplier than the US (6% vs. 2%).

Commodity IoT providers could be a big part of the problem. Both countries were in agreement that cheap IoT connectivity providers aren’t a good long-term investment (UK 70% and US 73%) which suggests they may have had their fingers burnt in the past.

What unites the two countries is a common view that getting the IoT device right is the key to unlocking success with 84% agreeing[2] in the US and 78% in the UK.

In addition, both the UK and US similarly agreed that developing and debugging connected products holds back getting them to market (UK 67% and US 67%).

Getting the device design and connectivity right often involves seeking expert advice from embedded firmware engineers and developers but both countries said these types of professionals are hard to find. The shortage of IoT device firmware skills appears to be worse in the States where 75% agreed[3] that embedded firmware engineers are in short demand versus 70% in the UK. As it is a highly specialised role with unique skillsets, these professionals are in high demand, and for good reason as they bring years of experience and hard-earned insights.

Get the full report

Discover the results of our largest State of IoT Adoption survey to date with insights into the challenges and opportunities that are hindering and helping IoT adoption IoT projects from 1,009 senior decision-makers in the UK and US.

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Looking to the future of IoT

Both countries were eager to benchmark IoT success and compare against industry peers. Almost all of the US respondents (95%) said it would be beneficial to assess IoT project maturity compared to 86% in the UK. When it comes to benchmarking the US is hungry to see how they perform. 94% in the US want to be able to compare where their IoT project is at with industry peers, compared with 87% of their peers in the UK.[4]

The UK and US both have struggled to find a partner with end-to-end IoT expertise and admitted it’s challenging (70% UK, 74% US). A monthly subscription programme with end-to-end IoT services under one roof could prove to be the answer after 94% of US respondents and 84% in the UK[5] agreed this would be beneficial for business.

With access to technical expertise at any time, barriers and difficulties for businesses would be removed, and IoT project delays would be reduced. That might look like seeking hardware design or development support – perhaps there is an issue with the PCB layout that’s got you scratching your head – or perhaps you need help navigating MNO, eUICC and regulatory certifications. Eseye’s elite team of technical engineers have seen it all when it comes to IoT and are willing to share their end-to-end expertise so you can get IoT right the first time.

[1] Combines “Always”, “Regularly” and “Sometimes”

[2] Combines “Strongly agree” and “Somewhat agree”

[3] Combines “Strongly agree” and “Somewhat agree”

[4] Combines “Extremely beneficial” and “Very beneficial”

[5] Combines “Extremely beneficial” and “Very beneficial”

Eseye author


IoT Hardware and Connectivity Specialists

Eseye brings decades of end-to-end expertise to integrate and optimise IoT connectivity delivering near 100% uptime. From idea to implementation and beyond, we deliver lasting value from IoT. Nobody does IoT better.

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