Between smartphones, smart home devices and an ever-increasing number of digital subscription services to choose from, consumers are beginning to confront the challenges of constant connectivity, based on research published by Deloitte.
The New York-based consulting firm gathered responses from more than 2,000 people in the U.S. to produce its fourth edition of its Connected Consumer Survey.
Although nearly half of consumers have put off a digital purchase due to recent economic challenges, Deloitte found 63 per cent expect their spending on technology to remain the same and nine per cent expect to increase it.
The average number of devices per household has actually fallen from 25 two years ago to 21 today. However Deloitte suggested this was less about people being less interested in technology than a desire to streamline and consolidate their devices and digital services.
The shift in attitude towards technology wasn’t just reflected in purchase activity but everyday consumer behavior. For example, 78 per cent of those surveyed said they had put at least one measure in place to put boundaries on their digital activities. These can include going for a walk, but three in 10 respondents also said they had taken a break from an app or account.
“In addition to helping consumers with their screen time management, there may be an opportunity for device makers and app providers to simplify device administration, ease data security and privacy management, and improve interoperability,” the report’s authors wrote. “Consumers are likely to place greater value on devices and apps that make their lives easier in these ways and may gravitate toward them when it’s time to refresh their tech.”
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Deloitte was careful not to suggest the digital tide is turning, but its research shows that some of the predictions made during the pandemic about future consumer habits fell short of reality.
Customer experience (CX) leaders can certainly work with their product teams to ensure devices and services are easier to use. The problem is that they are also working in organizations that are almost desperate to drive engagement. This is usually accomplished by bombarding users with notifications, asking to import their contacts and suggesting they upgrade to paid tiers (or a higher subscription tier) of digital services.
You have to laugh a bit when the report’s authors suggest we could turn to artificial intelligence (AI) to achieve more balance with digital devices in services. That’s right — address technology overwhelm with more technology!
It would be more interesting if CX leaders tried a different approach, such as developing more experiences based on offline activities. Perhaps a brand can offer users who have downloaded its app a paper-based journal for meditation and reflection, for example. Maybe a smart home device vendor could send customers a box with tools and ideas to decorate their home, rather than just track all the data within it.
Overall there’s some great value in this ungated research, including the importance connected consumers place on cybersecurity, the attitudes of Gen Z consumers and more.
Shane Schick tells stories that help people innovate, and to manage the change innovation brings. He is the former Editor-in-Chief of Marketing magazine and has also been Vice-President, Content & Community (Editor-in-Chief), at IT World Canada, a technology columnist with the Globe and Mail and Yahoo Canada and is the founding editor of ITBusiness.ca. Shane has been recognized for journalistic excellence by the Canadian Advanced Technology Alliance and the Canadian Online Publishing Awards.