British consumers are feeling positive about connected technology, according to research from Assurant, Inc., a leading global provider of housing and lifestyle solutions that support, protect and connect major consumer purchases. Assurant’s “The Connected Now” study, a follow-on to the company’s 2017 “The Connected Future” report, surveyed over 5,500 people across France, Germany, Italy, Spain and the United Kingdom to discover their views of technology and the connected future.
Two thirds (66 percent) believe that internet-connected consumer technology has made life better. Cost savings tops the list of benefits it brings to people’s lives with 29 percent citing this as the benefit they care most about. This was followed by enjoyment at 23 percent and peace of mind and convenience at 16 percent.
The degree of anxiety about connected technology has reduced over the past two years, shifting to a lukewarm concern. The top anxieties in this area are identity theft, at 92 percent, and misuse of data collected by web services, at 90 percent.
When it comes to connected products, specifically, the top frustrations British consumers experience are both to do with concerns around costs; 21 percent are fearful that a connected product would break and be expensive to replace or repair.
Assurant’s study also reveals that many potential buyers are more likely to make a purchase if the connected products came with value-added services. The biggest incentive would be if they were offered a two-year extended warranty; 29 percent of those surveyed said this would make them more likely to buy connected products.
One thing that the UK government could do to extend the life of tech products like smartphones, TVs, tablets etc. plus old school tech like bicycles, watches, jewellery, washing machines or clothing, is to offer a cashback incentive via the tax system. In Sweden people can claim back half the repair cost from their personal tax allowance, which is helping to boost the circular economy.
In an era when we are told to save the planet, surely it is time to help repair shops stay on the High Street, instead of simply buying, using and then throwing stuff away?
Rich Green, president, UK & Automotive, Europe, Assurant, comments: “The world around us is becoming more connected by the day and technology plays a significant role in the products and services that we use. Helping consumers to better understand the benefits of a connected lifestyle, together with making support and protection products more easily available, is an important step in promoting adoption.”
Rich adds: “When people decide to invest in connected devices, additional support and protection products can help provide them with extra peace of mind. The majority (55 percent) of British people expect connected tech devices to last at least four years, (an astonishingly low bar, can’t we use a smartphone for 6-10 years before it has to be thrown away? – Baffled Ed) which is in line with the European average of the countries we surveyed. Bundling and delivering technical support and extended protection with products will enhance consumer’s intent to purchase and further embrace a more connected lifestyle.”