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According to a new report from Accenture, a global management consulting, technology services and outsourcing company, titled Engaging the Digital Consumer in the New Connected World, most consumers experience challenges using several new types of smart high-tech devices.
The survey was conducted online in October and November 2014, with 24 000 consumers in 24 countries: Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, Czech Republic, France, Germany, India, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, Mexico, Netherlands, Poland, Russia, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, South Korea, Spain, Sweden, Turkey, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom, and the United States.
The sample size in each country was representative of the online population, with respondents ranging between the ages of 14 to 55 and above. The survey questioned the respondents about usage, attitudes and expectations related to digital device ownership, content consumption, broadband constraints, digital trust and the Internet of Things.
In South Africa, 72% of consumers report various problems when they use new devices such as wearable fitness monitors, smart watches, smart home, thermostats, in vehicle entertainment system, home connected surveillance camera and security systems and wearable health products.
The survey reveals that 25% of consumers find devices “too complicated to use”, 20% found they “did not work as advertised”, and 18% said that “set-up did not proceed properly”.
Lee Nick, Managing Director, Technology and Digital Strategy for Accenture in South Africa, says that the results obtained in the survey ought to influence technology companies.
“For these new connected device categories, high-tech companies need to go back to the drawing board and rethink their product development approaches to focus on the entire customer experience,” said Naik. “They should make fundamental strategic changes that no longer focus on product feature differentiation but rather holistic, digital experience differentiation.”
In the old age group, 35% mentioned buying “a trusted brand” as their main criteria when making a purchase. Thirty three percent cited “ease of use” and “product features and functionalities” as a buying decision factor.
Consumers will not be making extravagant purchases over the next twelve months across the newer high-tech device categories though their purchase plans are much more robust over a five-year period.
Other categories with strong purchase interest over the next five years include connected car entertainment systems at 48%, wearable health devices and smartwatches at 47 each, home 3D printers and wearable heads-up display glasses at 40% each.
The survey revealed that purchase intentions are trending downward in several the traditional high-tech product categories. From 2014 to 2015, the percentage who plan to purchase dropped for 10 of the 12 product categories surveyed and this includes smartphones, tablets, laptop computers, HDTVs and desktop computers. Compared to last year’s 64% of consumers who had intended to buy a smartphone in the next year to 61%. The data obtained in the survey also shows a decline in consumers planning to buy tablets. This year, 41% of consumers plan to buy one in the next year, compared with 51% last year. Another drop is the percentage of consumers that are planning to buy a high-definition TV, this year only 38% plan to buy one, an eight-point drop from 46 percent last year.
“As consumers’ purchasing plans decline for mature device categories, high-tech companies need to replace lost revenues with sales in new categories such as wearable health and fitness monitors,” added Naik. “These categories are prime examples of the expanding Internet of Things market, which will be a critical high-tech growth engine for many years to come.”
When the consumers were asked to provide major influences in their decisions to buy a particular smartphone, 54 percent said “I like this brand” and 39% indicated that they “already own devices from the same brand”. Other important factors included “design-look and feel of the device”. 35 percent, “it runs the operating system I like” at 26%, and “availability of apps” at 23%.