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In its fourth annual Connected Consumer survey, Deloitte found a: consumers are increasingly seeking to streamline their digital lives by reducing the number of devices they own, while simultaneously embracing virtual experiences and demanding technological innovation.
The study, which surveyed over 2,000 U.S. consumers, provides insights into how people are integrating digital technologies into their lives and highlights the challenges and opportunities faced by both consumers and technology companies in the connected world.
One of the key findings of the survey is that households are adopting a more strategic approach to device consumption. While nearly half of households (48%) purchased at least one new connected device in 2023, the average number of devices per household has decreased from 25 in 2021 to 21 in 2023.
This signifies a conscious effort to streamline and eliminate outdated or less useful devices while making room for new ones that better align with their needs, said Deloitte, the big accounting and consulting firm used by 90% of the Fortune 500 and more than 8,500 U.S.-based private companies.
However, managing the growing number of devices and subscriptions remains a challenge for many consumers. The survey reveals that 41% of respondents dislike managing their devices, and 28% feel overwhelmed by the sheer number of devices and subscriptions they need to handle. (I got myself the Rocket Money app to reduce the number of subscriptions I have).
This highlights an opportunity for tech companies to support customers in navigating the complexities of the digital landscape and striking a balance that maximizes the benefits of a connected life, Deloitte said.
Hybrid work rules
The study also sheds light on the evolving preferences regarding work arrangements. The demand for hybrid work has increased, with 56% of employed adults working remotely or in a hybrid manner at their primary job over the past year.
This shift is driven by the desire for better relationships with family and co-workers, improved health, and enhanced well-being. As hybrid work becomes more prevalent, businesses are urged to refresh and improve their tech solutions to meet the changing needs of employees.
Virtual health care has gained significant traction, with 42% of respondents having had at least one virtual medical appointment in the past year. The majority of those who experienced virtual health visits expressed high satisfaction levels and expressed a preference for virtual or hybrid options in the future for psychological health and chronic conditions. This demonstrates the growing acceptance and understanding of digital access to health care, Deloitte said.
While consumers embrace the benefits of technology, concerns about security and privacy are higher. The survey reveals that 58% of consumers worry about the vulnerability of their devices to security breaches, an increase from 50% in the previous year, Deloitte said. Similarly, 58% express concerns about organizations or individuals tracking them through their devices, up from 41% in 2022. This highlights the need for improved data privacy and security measures to address consumer apprehensions.
The survey highlights consumers’ desire for innovation and experiences that leverage the capabilities of 5G technology. Over half of respondents with 5G smartphones (53%) expressed disappointment in the lack of innovative apps and services that fully utilize the potential of 5G. This presents an opportunity for developers and technology companies to meet the expectations of consumers and deliver immersive experiences that harness the power of 5G.
Looking toward the future, the study indicates growing interest in immersive 3D experiences, particularly among younger generations. More than 6 in 10 Gen Z respondents and over half of millennials expressed interest in learning, socializing, and shopping through 3D platforms.
Additionally, generative AI gained traction, with 17% of respondents reporting experimentation or utilization of generative AI for personal, educational, or professional purposes. This demonstrates the increasing awareness and adoption of AI technologies among consumers, Deolitte said.
Paul Silverglate, vice chair of Deloitte and U.S. technology sector leader, said in a statement that companies need to respond to these evolving consumer needs and expectations by innovating and securing digital experiences. He said consumers are becoming more discerning in their device selection and are seeking digital harmony, presenting a wealth of opportunities for companies to align technology with human needs.
Jana Arbanas, vice chair of Deloitte LLP and U.S. telecom, media, and entertainment sector leader, highlighted the importance of leveraging technology to create an equitable society while driving innovation and competitive differentiation.
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