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Top ten consumer trends for 2014


Research by Ericsson predicts changes to technologies and smart devices.

January 8, 2014 3:33 by

The increasing importance of apps in our daily lives and the expectation of having access to the internet nearly everywhere we go are two of the “hottest” consumer trends for 2014 and beyond, according to a research by Ericsson ConsumerLab, whose global research programme is based on annual interviews with more than 100,000 individuals.

Anders Lindblad, president of Ericsson Middle East, says: “The common trend we see is the evolution to the networked society, in which connectivity will lead to new ways of innovating, collaborating and socialising. People, things, interactivity and great ideas will come together to create a revolution in the way we live.”

He further notes that for the Middle East region to become a networked society, people need to be connected anytime, anywhere and on any device.

Below are Ericsson’s top ten consumer trends for 2014:

Apps change society. The fast global uptake of smartphones has completely changed the way we communicate and use the internet. We have now entered a new phase of rapidly diversifying smartphone use and people are looking for apps across all sectors of society. This includes everything from shopping to communication with authorities and transportation. Apps are becoming more important than what smartphone we use.

Your body is the new password. Sites are demanding longer passwords with a mixture of numbers, letters and symbols – almost impossible to remember. This is leading to a growing interest in biometric alternatives. According to a research by Ericsson, a total of 74 per cent of those surveyed believe that biometric smartphones will become mainstream in 2014.

The quantified self. Blood pressure, pulse and steps are just some examples of how we want to measure ourselves with mobile devices, using personally generated data. You only need to start an app to track your activities and get to know yourself better. A total of 40 per cent of smartphone users want their phones to log all of their physical activities and 56 per cent would like to monitor their blood pressures and pulses using a ring.

The internet expected everywhere. The internet experience has been falling behind voice; smartphone users are realising that the signal bars on their phones no longer provide reliable guidance, since a signal that is adequate for a voice call may not be good enough for internet services.

Smartphones reduce the digital divide. Internet access on a global scale is still inadequately and unequally distributed, giving rise to what is referred to as the digital divide. The advent of cheaper smartphones means that consumers no longer need costly computing devices to access internet services. A total of 51 per cent of consumers globally feel that their mobile phones are the most important piece of technology.

Online benefits outweigh concerns. As the internet becomes an integrated part of our daily lives, the risks associated with being connected are becoming more apparent. More than half (56 per cent) of daily internet users are concerned about privacy issues. However, only four per cent say that they would actually use the internet less.

Video on command. Despite having greater media choice, we seem less prone to choose what we watch ourselves. In fact, our friends are particularly influential when it comes to viewing video material. Ericsson found that 38 per cent of respondents say they watch video clips recommended by their friends at least several times per week. Our friends have almost as much impact on our blog-reading and music-listening habits too.

Making my data visible. A total of 48 per cent of consumers use apps to better understand their data consumption. While 41 per cent just want to know how much data they use, 33 per cent want to make sure they are billed correctly and 31 per cent don’t want to exceed their operators’ data caps. Research also revealed that 37 per cent of smartphone owners regularly use apps to test their connection speed.

Sensors in everyday places. As interactive internet services are now commonplace, consumers are increasingly expecting our physical surroundings to be equally responsive. By the end of 2016, 60 per cent of smartphone owners believe that sensors will be used in everything, from healthcare and public transport, to cars, homes and our places of work.

Play, pause, resume elsewhere. As 19 per cent of total streamed time is spent on phones or tablets, consumers are increasingly shifting the locations where they watch TV to suit their daily lives. For example, a person might start viewing content at home, pause it and resume watching during his commute to work. When changing places, it can also make sense to switch device.

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