Most Consumers Challenged by New, High-tech Devices

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Most consumers experience challenges using several new types of smart high tech devices, according to a new report from Accenture titled Engaging the Digital Consumer in the New Connected World.

Overall, 83% report various problems when they use new device types such as wearable fitness monitors, smart watches, smart home thermostats, in-vehicle entertainment systems, home connected surveillance cameras and security systems, and wearable health products.

The biggest challenges consumers face are that the smart devices are “too complicated to use” (21%), “set-up did not proceed properly” (19%), and “did not work as advertised” (19%).

“For these new connected device categories, high tech companies need to go back to the drawing board and rethink their product development approaches to focus on the entire customer experience,” said Sami Luukkonen, managing director for Accenture’s Electronics and High Tech group. “They should make fundamental strategic changes that no longer focus on product feature differentiation but rather holistic, digital experience differentiation.”

Across all age groups and geographic regions surveyed, 33% cited “ease of use” as the most important criteria when deciding which of these products to buy. Twenty-nine percent said “product features and functionalities” are important. And 22% said the same about buying “a trusted brand.”

Purchase Intent for New Categories in Short and Long Term

While respondents revealed relatively modest purchase intentions over the next 12 months across the newer high tech device categories, their purchase plans are much more robust over a five-year period.

Over the next 12 months, for example, 12% of consumers plan to buy a wearable fitness monitor. However, within five years 40% plan to do so. Within one year, 12% intend to buy a smartwatch, whereas 41% 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%, smart thermostats at 39%, connected car entertainment systems at 37%, and home 3D printers and wearable heads-up display glasses at 35% each.

Slowing Pace of Growth in Traditional Device Categories

After several years of rapid growth, the survey revealed purchase intentions are trending downward in several major and more traditional high tech product categories. 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.


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