Abstract This paper provides an insight into consumer engagement in smart grid projects in Europe. Projects analysed are those included in the catalogue annexed in the JRC Report “Smart Grid projects in Europe: lessons learned and current developments”. The analysis suggests an increase in the interest in consumer engagement projects at European level and a strong focus on the residential sector, and emphasises the key importance of public funding to support these projects. The study also reveals that projects involving consumers are characterised by the pursuit of two main objectives: gaining deeper knowledge of consumer behaviour (observing and understanding the consumer) and motivating and empowering consumers to become active energy customers (engaging the consumer). The paper reviews the main activities undertaken to obtain these objectives and highlights trends and developments in the field. Finally, the paper discusses obstacles to consumer engagement and the strategies adopted by the projects surveyed to tackle them, highlighting the need to build consumer trust and to design targeted campaigns taking into consideration different consumer segments. The conclusions are in line with findings and analyses presented in the literature and underscore the need for further research and action at European level.