Ericsson ConsumerLab has identified the hottest consumer trends for 2012 and beyond. Some highlights: connectivity has become as essential as roads and electricity, that social media are redefining news reporting, and that anyone can now be a service provider.
Once they have been connected, the internet is one of the last things that consumers would be willing to give up if they had to reduce their expenses, according to ConsumerLabs findings.
For more than 15 years, ConsumerLab has been conducting research into peoples values, behaviors and ways of thinking about ICT products and services. Ericssons global research program is based on annual interviews with 100,000 individuals in more than 40 countries and more than 10 megacities.
Michael Bjrn, Head of Research at ConsumerLab, says: Consumers have taken to smartphone apps like fish to water. Touch and direct access via icons hide the complexity of internet services, and people are now willing to explore many new areas of everyday life anything from recipes to receipts that benefit from connectivity. We just concluded a study in emerging markets, and found that even first-time mobile-phone users very quickly become internet users. Connectivity is becoming an increasing part of their daily activities.
Here are the 10 hottest consumer trends:
1. Connectivity is king. Connectivity has become as essential as the air we breathe. Once they have been connected, consumers say the internet is one of the last things they would be willing to give up if they had to reduce their expenses.
2. Everyone can be a service provider. There is a huge demand for new services. The internet makes it possible for both companies and consumers to invent new solutions, such as apps.
3. Social media redefine news reporting. Social media drive consumption of pictures, video clips and music, and now they also help consumers judge the relevance of news by providing necessary social commentary.
4. Mobile phones play a significant role in everyday life. Consumers show most interest in mobile services that are directly related to nearby places or local services. While 90 percent of all smartphone owners always carry their phones with them, only 80 percent of them mention carrying money.
5. Transparency greater than privacy. People are getting used to living transparent lives and they also expect companies and other organizations to act transparently.
6. The cloud makes things easy to use. Sharing information and having several devices connected at all times is becoming the norm for consumers, resulting in the introduction of more cloud-based services. The main driver is ease of use.
7. Women drive adoption of smartphones. Our 2011 study of smartphone users showed that men still dominate usage of niche services on smartphones while significantly more women use regular services such as voice calling, SMS and Facebook. By actively integrating the use of all communications channels into one device, women are driving mass-market adoption of smartphones.
8. Making shopping easier. Our survey showed that 67 percent of smartphone users are interested in mobile payments. Payments should not be seen in isolation but must be put into a context of everyday shopping for example, product information, bonus points, receipts and even indoor-shopping-mall navigation.
9. Everything connects. Mobile data surpassed voice in the fourth quarter of 2009 and doubled voice in the first quarter of 2011. Consumers are increasingly connecting to the internet and to things around them, such as cars, vending machines, ticket gates and more.
10. Uncertain times consumers strive for control. In times of economic instability or when disasters such as earthquakes occur, we see renewed interest among consumers in services related to utilities such as water and electricity. Likewise, a change in disposable income is driving demand for consumers to be in control of service consumption.