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    Are consumers ready for the new wave of technology?

    Jay Rampuria, EVP, Global Business Development, ITWP

    The lines between man and machine are increasingly being blurred with the tremendous growth of technologies that are personal – that we wear, monitor our health, our sleep, our security, and that are very present in our lives – often 24/7. In order for these technologies to take off, we have to feel comfortable with and be willing to purchase them. Are we?

    Ahead of the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) 2020 we wanted to know how consumers feel about these innovations, so we asked more than 1000 consumers (using Toluna QuickSurveys) about the latest technologies coming into their lives.

    You might not be surprised to learn that the major differences in how we view and use emerging technologies occur between age groups. On the top level, there’s a clear difference. More than 60% of those in the 18-34 and 35-54 feel very comfortable with technology while 64% of those 55+ feel only somewhat comfortable (only 19.72% of the older group say they are very comfortable.) Similarly, more than half of respondents 18-54 said it was extremely important to stay connected at all times, while only 16% of those aged 55 and older agreed.

    Connected Home

    The number one area of interest is home security with some 64% of respondents saying they would consider purchasing such products. And this holds steady across all three age groups.

    Other popular areas were smart light bulbs and connected home devices (such as Google, Nest etc.) Again, there isn’t a huge difference between age groups. If folks are not likely to purchase these items, price is the number one reason (63% total). The primary reason for purchasing smart devices for 55+ age group is security/safety, while entertainment and security/safety hold similar weights for the 18-34 and 35-54 age groups.

    In Home Entertainment

    Smart speakers have caught on with more than half of all respondents saying they have used Amazon Alexa, Siri, Google Assistant, Microsoft Cortana or similar. Twice as many in the two younger groups have used them as in the 55+ age group. The number one way people use smart speakers is to play music. Although among the older group, three quarters use smart speakers for obtaining information such as weather. One of the striking differences is with targeted advertising. While 58% of those aged 18-34 would be more inclined to use smart speakers with targeted ads, 68% of those 55 and older would be less inclined to use them.

    Another area where we see large age differences is in the use of augmented reality: 87% of those in 55+ age group have never used augmented reality, while more than 70% of those in 18-34 age group have.

    Health and Fitness

    The youngest age group was more enthusiastic than the other two groups about Sports tech (such as Hawk-Eye, FieldWiz) and sleep tech (like Beddit, Recovery Sleepwear) – technologies designed to improve sports performance or sleep quality. Some 97% of those in the 55+ age group have never purchased Sports Tech, or Sleep Tech, while more than 60% of 18-34 and 40% of 35-54 have.

    More than half (53%) of the 18-34 age group use smart devices to track and monitor health/fitness activities and 58% of 18-34 age group were interested in connected home fitness. Only 13% of those in 55+ age group were interested in this category.

    Future Trends

    What we can take away from our survey is that younger people are more interested in technology innovations that are very personal – fitness, targeted advertising and of course for entertainment. Older consumers will continue to use technology in the home to increase security, information and for entertainment. What separates the age groups most is how they use technology and their comfort level with emerging technologies. These insights will give all of us something to think about as we explore the many new innovations sure to debut at CES.

    You can view and download our infographic here to see more results from the survey.

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