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Accenture Survey Finds New Types of High Tech Devices Pose Consumer Challenges

By Rob Starr, Content Manager

David Sovie, managing director with Accenture’s Electronics and High Tech group and leader for the group’s Asia/Pacific region, responds to the fact that 83 percent  of consumers from the Accenture survey, Engaging the Digital Consumer in the New Connected World , report various problems with new device types such as wearable fitness monitors, smart watches and smart home thermostats. Sovie also helped us to understand some of the other implications from the research.


Why are consumers experiencing challenges using several new types of smart high tech devices? What kinds of issues are common?   

Accenture global consumer research revealed the most common issues consumers face with

Dave Sovie

Dave Sovie

these new devices – “too complicated to use” cited by 21%;  followed by “set-up did not proceed properly”, “did not work as advertised” and “could not connect to the internet” cited by 19% each.

What do high tech companies need to do in response?   

High-tech companies need a much more obsessive focus on ‘ease of use’ and the complete digital experience.  Today, too many tech companies still overly focus on the hardware product  features and functions.  But today the differentiation comes from the connected experience, including the mobile applications and digital services .  Our survey shows that ‘ease of use’ is the number 1 purchase criteria for new types of connected devices.  But fully 83% of consumers have experienced frustration with the new breed of connected devices

 How are the buying trends for these high tech devices shaping up?

Our survey revealed strong interest in a wide range of devices in the long-term, but many consumer are taking a ‘wait and see’ attitude in the short-term.  For example, over the next 12 months,  only 12 percent of consumers plan to buy a wearable fitness monitor. However, within five years 40 percent plan to do so. Within one year, 12 percent intend to buy a smartwatch, whereas 41 percent plan to do so within five years.  Other categories with strong purchase interest over the next five years include home connected surveillance cameras and security systems at 41 percent, smart thermostats at 39 percent, connected car entertainment systems at 37 percent, and home 3D printers and wearable heads-up display glasses at 35 percent each.

 What are some of the other highpoints from the survey?

After years of torrid growth for smartphones and tablets, consumers are projecting to slow down the pace of growth in traditional core product categories.  This is not well-understood in the industry, but the reality is that we now have very high penetration rates for smartphone, tablet and computers, so the industry is now moving into a replacement lifecycle in traditional categories.  At the same time, our survey shows the adoption rate for new categories of ‘Internet of Things’-type of connected devices will be slower than most people think as many consumer take a ‘wait and see’ attitude.

From 2014 to 2015, the percentage of respondents who plan to purchase dropped for nine of the 13 product categories surveyed, including smartphones, tablets, laptop computers, HDTVs and desktop computers. For example, while 54 percent intend to buy a smartphone in the next year, this was a four-point drop from 58 percent last year. Another notable decline was in tablets, where 38 percent intend to buy one in the next year, versus 44 percent last year.

 What does the future look like for these products?

Per the response in question 3, the long-term future is very positive for a wide range of connected, “Internet of Things” devices.  But the short-term challenges are real and tech companies must address the very real ‘ease of use’ concerns of consumers.

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