Article

Joel Stein
Joel Stein 6 March 2017
Categories Innovation & Trends

What Do Consumers Think about 2017's Hot Digital Trends?

Every year, marketing thought leaders and tech bubbles predict the top digital trends for the next 12 months. But what happens if you ask consumers how they feel about some of the tech topics that brands and agencies are getting excited about? Here's some research to answer that question.

The Internet is awash with industry commentators predicting which digital trends will make the biggest impact in 2017. But how do customers actually feel about the latest digital innovations?

Manchester-based digital agency Code Computerlove recently surveyed 1,000 British adults to find out what they really think about trends like voice search, virtual reality, and chat-bots. For brands weighing up where to invest their digital budget this year, this is essential reading.

Highlights

  • Mobile payments are the most sought-after technology in 2017
  • 9 out of 10 consumers claim to have no interest in using augmented reality in the near future
  • 1 in 5 people surveyed aim to spend less time in front of screens this year

Infographic

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In-Depth

Which experiences will people be comfortable with in the near future?

- Mobile payments (40%) and voice search (30%) are the two technologies consumers are most willing to embrace (and also the technologies they are most likely to have used already)

- 8/10 wouldn't be completely comfortable ordering through chat-bots in the near future

- 85% wouldn't be comfortable with screenless ordering (e.g. Amazon Dash). 98% said they haven't tried this technology before.

- 25% said they are comfortable with virtual reality for watching video, playing games and exploring spaces

- Around a quarter said they had heard of both VR and AR but don't really understand what they are. Almost 9/10 claimed they weren't interested in using AR in 2017.

- Whilst men tended to be more receptive to new technology in general, this wasn't the case for mobile payments, where women showed more interest. 43% of females said they would feel completely comfortable paying for goods or services with a mobile device, compared to 47% of males.

What customers want in 2017

- Nearly half just want the products and services they already use to be made better

- 3/10 want to see fresh, innovative ideas

- 1 in 5 want more time away from screens in 2017. This urge to disconnect is most prevalent amongst 25-34-year-olds.  

- Whilst there was a broad correlation between age and interest in new customer experience technologies, this wasn't always completely linear. For example, 35-44-year-olds showed more interest in voice search and chat-bots than those in the 18-24 age bracket.

- Although largely unconvinced by chat-bots and augmented reality, a significant proportion of over-55s are interested in using mobile payments (24%), voice search (22%), and even virtual reality (17%).

Key Takeaways

Whilst many customers may be unfamiliar with terms like virtual and augmented reality, and claim not to want to interact with these technologies, these attitudes may change quickly if individuals’ initial encounters with the technology are positive. The emphasis is to test, learn and refine new innovations before releasing into the wider market.

Innovation remains important for brands looking to secure a competitive advantage in an increasingly fast-moving digital world, but this should never become a distraction from working on improving the products or services they already offer. However brilliant your product is, there are always opportunities to test, iterate and optimise.

Age, gender, and other human factors can have a big impact on how individuals feel about particular types of technology. If you don't truly know your audience, attempts to innovate could easily back-fire. The trends brands adopt should always be guided by both customer and market insight, and tools like a customer experience map can help to identify where new technologies can add the most value.

Things to Act on Now

- Voice search should be a focus for all online brands in 2017 - talk to your SEO team!

- If you're a physical retailer and you don't yet accept mobile payments, consumers could soon start voting with their feet and going elsewhere.

- With many people aiming to spend less time in front of screens this year, it’s vital that you make your interactions with them count. A poor initial experience could lose you a customer for life.

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