After several years of rapid growth, purchase intentions are trending downward in several major and more traditional high tech product categories, according to a new report from Accenture, ‘Engaging the Digital Consumer in the New Connected World’. The report has been released ahead of the Consumer Electronics Show (CES), which opens tomorrow in Las Vegas, and also reveals that most consumers experience challenges using several new types of smart high tech devices.
From 2014 to 2015, the percentage of respondents who plan to purchase high tech smart devices dropped for nine of the 13 product categories surveyed, including smartphones, tablets, and high definition TVs (HDTVs).
While 54 per cent intend to buy a smartphone in the next year, this was a four-point drop from 58 per cent last year. Another notable decline was in tablets, where 38 per cent intend to buy one in the next year, versus 44 per cent last year. Similarly, 36 per cent intend to buy an HDTV, an eight-point drop from 44 per cent last year.
“As consumers’ purchasing plans decline for mature device categories, high tech companies need to replace lost revenues with sales in new categories such as wearable health and fitness monitors,” said Sami Luukkonen, managing director for Accenture’s electronics and high tech group. “These categories are prime examples of the expanding Internet of Things market, which will be a critical high tech growth engine for many years to come.”
Accenture views the ‘Internet of Things’ as the convergence of intelligent products and services that communicate with each other, and with people, over global networks.
When measuring purchase intent in total spending, most consumers plan to spend the same as last year on consumer electronics. However, among consumers planning to change their purchase habits, a greater percentage (20 per cent) plan to decrease than increase their spending (16 per cent).
The report also asserts that the biggest challenges consumers face are that the smart devices are “too complicated to use” (21 per cent), “set-up did not proceed properly” (19 per cent), and “did not work as advertised” (19 per cent).
“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,” added Luukkonen. “They should make fundamental strategic changes that no longer focus on product feature differentiation but rather holistic, digital experience differentiation.”