5 minute read 17 Jul 2019
man using tablet

How organisations can respond to the changing attitudes of today’s digital household

By

Praveen Shankar

UK&I Technology, Media and Telecommunications Market Leader, Ernst & Young LLP

Broad experience in transformation and operations. Driving the 5G agenda. Focused on tackling the most pressing and complex business and technology challenges in the industry.

Contributors
5 minute read 17 Jul 2019

EY’s annual survey of 2,500 UK households explores consumer attitudes towards connectivity and content in the home, and what they mean for TMT providers.

Launched as a five-part series, this award-winning campaign delves into the key opportunities and challenges for TMT providers, including the smart home, viewing habits, privacy and customer service expectations.

This year’s research,  Decoding the digital home 2019: Early adopters and digital detoxers, reveals a number of fascinating findings, highlighting both the opportunities and challenges facing TMT providers in the digital home.

Opening the door to digital

Demand for the latest tech is recovering

Interest in the latest technology and gadgets is on the up, reversing 2017’s downward trend. 31% of households agree that they are interested in new gadgets and tend to get them before everyone else, up from 29% in 2017.

New gadgets

31%

The percentage of households interested in new gadgets and buying them before everyone else – up from 29% in 2017

The smartphone is at the heart of the home

Households’ increased receptivity to new technology is also influencing the way they connect to the internet. 15% now use smartphones as their main way to go online, up significantly from 11% in 2017. Laptop connectivity went in the other direction, with 39% now using it as their main device for accessing the internet, down from 44% in 2017.

Becoming a nation of streamers

How we spend our time online is also changing. Just over a third of households (34%) often stream video content on multiple devices at the same time, up from 31% in 2017. Meanwhile, 30% of households say that streaming is now the primary way they watch television at home.

Streaming on multiple devices

34%

The percentage of households streaming video content on multiple devices at the same time – up from 31% in 2017

Looking ahead, it is essential for providers to simplify their propositions and offer easier to understand, clearly communicated products and services. Consumer privacy and security fears must also be heeded, as they risk undermining levels of adoption, satisfaction and loyalty.
Praveen Shankar
UK&I Technology, Media and Telecommunications Market Leader, Ernst & Young LLP
More fiber, more satisfaction

Alongside changing device and content consumption trends, new forms of connectivity continue to grow. Fiber broadband adoption now stands at 59%, up from 54% in 2017. Crucially, rising take-up is partnered by higher levels of satisfaction with broadband speeds: 61% of households are happy with the speed of their connection, up from 58% in 2017.

Fiber broadband

59%

The percentage of households which have adopted fiber broadband – up from 54% in 2017

Households are willing to pay more than before

Despite ongoing concerns about UK consumer confidence, the good news for providers is that householders are actually willing to pay more than before, with 18% saying they would pay more to stream advert-free catch-up TV, up from 16% in 2017. and a similar rise in those willing to pay a premium to get the latest gadgets before everyone else: up from 19% in 2017 to 21% in 2018.

Young users: receptive and ready to spend

Prepared to drop fixed broadband for mobile data

With younger users’ high receptivity to new value propositions and operators preparing to launch 5G, there is scope for mobile broadband to take on a much greater importance in the home. Looking at all ages, 25% would be willing to ditch fixed broadband for an effective mobile broadband connection. For 18-24 year olds, this rises significantly to 43%.

Digital anxieties are on the rise

While enjoying the benefits of greater connectivity, households also articulate anxieties as they seek digital downtime, fall back on the familiar and worry about trust.

Complexity causes confusion

The bundle jungle: still overgrown

Nearly half (46%) of households think there is too much choice in terms of different bundles of broadband and content, up from 43% in 2017. This may be one reason many are reluctant to add more to their bundles, with the proportion of households taking a mobile phone as part of their broadband package falling to 16% in 2018 – a major setback when you consider that between 2016 and 2017 the uptake of mobile bundles more than doubled from 8% to 17%.

Bundle choice

46%

The number of households believing there is too much bundle choice

Fears of digital overexposure

Digital detox is top of mind

As tech becomes more and more central to our lives, worries about its impact increase. 43% of households are actively seeking time away from their smartphone and other internet enabled devices, up from 41% in 2017. Interestingly this figure is even higher for younger and perhaps more digitally savvy users, with half of all 25-34 year olds looking to digitally detox.

Technology-free time

43%

The percentage of households seeking time away from their smartphone and other internet enabled devices – up from 41% in 2017

Trust and security concerns loom large

Data security is top of mind

Headlines about large-scale personal data breaches and online fraud have raised concerns. Nearly three quarters (72%) say they are very cautious about disclosing personal financial information online, even to a trusted brand.

Trust

72%

The percentage of households cautious about disclosing personal financial information online, even to trusted brands

“Looking ahead, it is essential for providers to simplify their propositions and offer easier to understand, clearly communicated products and services. Consumer privacy and security fears must also be heeded, as they risk undermining levels of adoption, satisfaction and loyalty. Building trust with customers should be at the centre of providers’ strategy because, as our survey shows, this is one of the biggest obstacles to the continuing growth of the digital household. TMT providers can differentiate themselves and gain competitive advantage if they can tackle the element of trust,” says Praveen Shankar, UK&I Technology, Media and Telecommunications Leader.

Read the report for insights into shifting trends, consumer attitudes towards connectivity and content in the home and – crucially – what they mean for TMT companies.

Best use of data and insight

Summary

Households are more receptive to new technology and increasingly willing to pay – with the younger generation leading the way. However, while enjoying the benefits of greater connectivity, households also articulate anxieties as they seek digital downtime, fall back on the familiar, and worry about trust. TMT companies need to go beyond their traditional assumptions to forge closer connections with their customers, including revisiting traditional assumptions, focusing on simple propositions, and delivering on trust.

About this article

By

Praveen Shankar

UK&I Technology, Media and Telecommunications Market Leader, Ernst & Young LLP

Broad experience in transformation and operations. Driving the 5G agenda. Focused on tackling the most pressing and complex business and technology challenges in the industry.

Contributors