Forrester’s Annual Benchmark On The State Of US Consumers And Technology In 2017 Is Here!

Gina Fleming

Forrester’s annual report on the State of Consumers and Technology: Benchmark 2017, US reveals the most important consumer technology trends that marketers need to know. Since 1997, Forrester has surveyed more than three million households worldwide. And during the latter half of that time, we have published an annual benchmark report that reveals the impact of technology on consumers’ attitudes, behaviors, and expectations. This data-rich report is a graphical analysis of a range of topics about consumers and technology and serves as a benchmark for US consumers’ level of technology adoption, usage, and attitudes.

What did we find this year? For mainstream US consumers, smartphone and tablet usage is commonplace: three-quarters use a smartphone and half use a tablet. Users of these devices are no longer early adopters; rather they are typical US consumers. 

We identify early adopters of new technologies who experiment with and rely on technology. In 2017 this means that 14% of US online adults use a fitness tracker, 8% use a smart speaker with a personal assistant and 7% use Apple Pay. Since age is a strong predictor of technology adoption, this report examines consumers’ technology behaviors through an age cohort lens.

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The Data Digest: Mobile Phone -- Compass, Guide, And Connector

Anjali Lai

I’ve spent the past few weeks traveling around Europe, and during my trip, I became keenly aware of how much I rely on my phone to connect me with the physical world – especially when navigating unfamiliar streets. But as I strolled through major cities and charming countryside towns, I passed groups of locals and tourists – some with physical maps, others following directions dictated by their personal devices. I began to wonder: Do consumers around the world rely on digital navigation differently?

According to Forrester Data’s Consumer Technographics® data, mobile geo-location behaviors do, in fact, vary by country. For example, more than six in 10 metropolitan Argentinian travelers frequently use their mobile phones to look up directions and maps, compared with only a third of German travelers:  

But like many globetrotters, while I count on my mobile phone’s navigation abilities, I also enjoy using travel to “unplug.” I make sure I don’t map out every piece of my itinerary but allow for spontaneous discoveries. Mobile apps like Here We Go and TripIt have developed loyal users because they provide specific, contextual real-time data to solve quick pain points without distracting from the adventure overall.

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The Data Digest: The Information Power Play

Anjali Lai

Recent incidents remind us that knowledge is power. Earlier this week, US President Trump shared classified information with foreign delegates — and by doing so, he potentially declassified it. When The Washington Post exposed the headline first, the article became the most viewed digital news story in the publication’s history. This comes only a few days after a sweep of global cyberattacks locked major corporations and governments out of their data and threatened to release stolen content (like a soon-to-be-released Disney film) in increments. These stories remind us that those who own and control information wield power — but also that the boundary between public and private information is becoming easier to transgress.  

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The Data Digest: Youth’s Scattered Social Mobile Behaviors

Reineke Reitsma

Recently, I was on a road trip in Morocco with my family, including three teenagers. While my interest in their phone usage at home mostly concentrates on the amount of time they spend on their devices, during the trip I got firsthand insight into how they use their phones. All three of them used it as a lifeline to their friends at home in the Netherlands, but it was amazing to see how each of them does that in a totally different way. My 16-year-old son was primarily “apping” (texting using Whatsapp) with his friends and sending the occasional picture; my 14-year-old daughter was trying to keep her Snapchat “streaks” alive while dealing with bad Wi-Fi signals and long road trips; while my 12-year-old daughter was vlogging all day about everything she encountered and uploading the videos when we had a signal. Part of these differences in behavior can be explained by their characters, but it’s mostly the result of the two-year age gaps between them. Even though they are all in their teens, they grew up with different digital platforms and capabilities.

The Forrester Data Consumer Technographics North American Youth Survey, 2017 (US), also shows this. More than half of US youth use YouTube, Instagram, Snapchat, and Facebook daily. But when we dive a level deeper, we see that the 14 and 15 year olds are more likely to post online than their 16- and 17-year-old peers.

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The Data Digest: Chatbots Can’t Fully Replace Humans Just Yet

Kristopher Arcand
Customer service departments in all industries are increasing their use of chatbots, and we will see usage rise even higher in the next year as companies continue to pilot or launch their own versions of the rule-based digital assistant. What are chatbots? Forrester defines them as autonomous applications that help users complete tasks through conversation.
 
While Forrester’s Consumer Technographics® data reveals that 60% of US online adults already use online messaging, voice, or video chat services, there are challenges to widespread adoption. We reached out to our ConsumerVoices Market Research Online Community members to better understand consumer impressions of chatbots and found that our respondents had a difficult time identifying clear benefits to interacting with them. Many prefer to communicate with a representative who can show real empathy, address more complex needs, and offer them assurance.
 
Earlier this month, I attended the Qual360 2017 conference in Washington, D.C., where chatbots were a hot topic in both qualitative research and customer experience. Speakers highlighted the opportunity of chatbots while warning about their shortcomings. For example:
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The Indian Online Retail Market: Amazon Versus Everyone Else

Satish Meena

The Indian online retail market is in flux. On April 10, Flipkart raised $1.4 billion and added eBay, Tencent, and Microsoft to an investor list that already includes Tiger Global Management, Naspers Group, Accel Partners, and DST Global. In addition, Softbank is working on selling Snapdeal, the third-largest online retailer in India, to Flipkart and investing in Flipkart to take on the rapidly growing Amazon. This realignment of investors follows the slowdown in India’s online retail growth rate in 2016: We slashed our online retail forecast for India by more than a third to $48 billion by 2020, down from the $75 billion we estimated last year, due to demonetization, eCommerce restrictions, dwindling funding, and slow growth in the number of buyers. What does Flipkart’s news mean for the key players specifically and the market in general?

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The Data Digest: Are Australian Companies Living Up To Their Clients’ Online Expectations?

Reineke Reitsma

Australians are often seen as laid-back, taking things as they come. However, this doesn’t translate to their need for great customer experience. When we analyzed the Australian results of Forrester’s Customer Experience Index (CX Index™), we found that the vast majority of companies in Australia are still providing only mediocre CX.

In his report “The Australia Customer Experience Index, 2016,” my colleague Tom Champion shows how companies in more CX-mature markets in North America and Europe have turned their attention toward making positive emotional connections with their customers to drive loyalty. However, the focus in Australia is still very much on measurement.

So, what’s going on in Australia? How can companies live up to the changing expectations of their customers?

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The Data Digest: The Values-Based Consumer

Anjali Lai

If Thursday morning’s controversial tweet from McDonald’s is any indication, brands are no longer safe. I’m not just talking about the threat of a data breach or hack — I’m talking about the threat of consumers who force brands to expose their ethics and beliefs or remain at the mercy of consumer perception and interpretation in a polarized environment. As we’ve seen with other examples of ubiquitous and once universally loved brands like Kellogg’s and L.L. Bean, consumers increasingly judge companies on the basis of their values — and while customers are skeptical of firms that stay silent, they open their wallets for those that champion appealing causes.

Forrester’s Consumer Technographics® data reveals that this is hardly a passing cloud; customers are becoming more aware of — and sensitive to — social issues overall. For instance, more consumers regularly follow politics, read about science, and identify as being environmentally conscious today than in 2014: 

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Introducing The Forrester Readiness Index Report: eCommerce, 2016

Satish Meena

With the increasing significance of the online channel in retail, we need variables other than macroeconomic data or consumer market size to assess the readiness of a market for eCommerce. While there is no universal tool for selecting expansion opportunities, the Forrester Readiness Index (FRI) provides a holistic assessment of the eCommerce setting for each country.

Our recently publihsed Forrester Readiness Index For eCommerce, 2016 is a holistic assessment of the eCommerce setting to provide insights for global expansion needs. The eCommerce index signifies the level of opportunity in each of these countries over the next three to five years and measures the impact of technological and behavioral influences in conjunction with the revenue opportunity.

The FRI evaluates 25 quantitative variables in four areas — consumer, vendor, infrastructure, and online retail opportunities — in 55 countries across the globe. We selected each quantitative and qualitative indicator to measure the relative “readiness” of the platform in each country; these indicators reflect each country’s eCommerce environment and overall retail opportunity. 

Some of the key findings of the Index:

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The Data Digest: Cinema's Lesson To Marketers

Anjali Lai

I love watching the annual Academy Awards — not only for the fashion show and blunders exposed on live TV but also to learn about how content resonates with audiences today and how cinema is evolving. In a world where people frequently face information overload and crave smaller bites (and bytes) of content, I’ve often wondered, what is the fate of the full-length film?

Forrester’s Consumer Technographics® data reveals a curious story: Rather than reaching any type of saturation point, US consumers’ media appetite is growing rapidly: 93% of online adults frequently watch video today, more than 10 percentage points higher than two years ago. And their often-criticized waning attention span is not deterring consumers from sitting through full-length films; in fact, movie viewership is on the rise. However, our data shows that the viewing experience is changing: Movie watching is getting more personal as consumers increasingly turn to their home devices instead of going to the movie theater. 

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