What’s going to be hot this year in consumer tech? Ericsson ConsumerLab identified 10 consumer trends that we can expect to see this year.
Ericsson ConsumerLab released the 10 Hot Consumer Trends 2014 report last month and their findings are the fruits of their global research program that is based on interviews with over 100,000 people in over 40 countries and 15 cities. ConsumerLab Head of Research Michael Bjorn said that the demand for apps and services is the most important trend that they see and that this has the potential to change our everyday lives.
Apps Change Society
The first trend that Ericsson expects to see this year and in the coming years is that apps will change society. As more and more people use smartphones, Ericsson’s research shows that we are now entering a new phase where people are using their smartphones in different ways. Ericsson’s interviews with consumers show that people believe that mobile services could enhance satisfaction in areas such as shopping and leisure activities. Mobile services can also alleviate dissatisfaction with child care and elderly care as well as communication with authorities.
If you browse the app store on your smartphone, you can get an idea of how many and how diverse the uses of these apps are for. Apps are not only available on your smartphone but you can also run apps on your browser these days. Many of the apps available are free so we are definitely in a period that is very different from the PC-era when Microsoft dominated the landscape and you had to buy most of the software that you needed to be productive on your computer.
Your Body is the New Password
Ericsson found that 52% of smartphone users want to do away with passwords and use their fingerprints instead. Fifty percent of consumers also want to use their fingerprints to complete credit card purchases online. Consumers want to be able to access their content and information online but they are also getting frustrated by the need to log in to sites in order to access their information.
The need to use longer and more complex passwords is further adding to the frustration of consumers so there are many who want to find an alternative to using passwords. Consumers are receptive to the idea of biometrics and Ericsson’s study found that 74% believe that biometric smartphones will be more common in 2014. Apple’s introduction of the iPhone 5S with a fingerprint identity sensor they call Touch ID seems to be a portent of things to come for smartphones.
The Quantified Self
You’ve probably seen health gadgets on the market or on your favourite tech blog. Nike has the Fuelband and this is another product from their Nike+ fitness tracking line of products which has been available on the market for several years now. The GPS on smartphones has also allowed us to track the kilometres that we’ve ran or biked with the help of many sports tracking apps.
Ericsson’s survey shows that 59% want a wristband that monitors their activities while 56% wants to monitor their blood pressure and pulse with a ring. At a time when the NSA’s spying on individuals has made headlines and other news about personal records going public, 67 % of survey respondents say that they do not want to share their medical records.
Internet Expected Everywhere
There’s this entry for a two-sentence “horror story” and it’s about not having Internet access for a few hours. It’s funny because many find not being able to have access to the Internet as a big problem and not having Internet access is moder-day horror story for any office worker who wants to be productive. Ericsson’s research shows that consumers want a reliable indicator of internet coverage. Consumers find that the signal bar on the phone is not a good indicator of internet connection quality. Consumers in the survey have expressed dissatisfaction with the quality of Internet connectivity at different locations and they consumers rated the least satisfaction with their internet connection while they’re at a subway or metro.
Tech giants like Google and Facebook want everyone to have access to the Internet. While their work focuses on bringing the Internet to less developed regions, their work could still have an effect on quality of Internet connection that people in cities enjoy.
Smartphones Reduce the Digital Divide
As smartphones get cheaper, these become tools for people in developing countries to access the Internet. This breaks down one of the reasons for the digital divide where Internet access throughout the world is unequally distributed.
Ericsson’s study shows that smartphones are already the primary device that people use in Indonesia and India – two very populous nations – for many applications like instant messaging and online banking. Contrast that to the U.S. and the U.K. where consumers are more likely to use a laptop to access social networks and to do online banking. The study also finds that 51% of consumers worldwide feel that mobile phones are the most important technology that they use to carry out daily activities.
The Importance of Mobile Phones and Broadband Internet
Ericsson ConsumerLab’s study on the 10 consumer trends for 2014 highlights the importance of smartphones and the Internet to people. The apps on smartphones and browsers help us do a wide variety of things and entertain us to no end. Consumer expectations for being connected everywhere provides great opportunities for telecommunication companies not just in the Philippines but everywhere. The need for telecommunication companies to offer data plans that provide reliable Internet connection is now even greater. Stay tuned for part two of our analysis of the findings from Ericsson ConsumerLabs’ 10 Hot Consumer Trends 2014 report.
Proceed to Part 2