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Study: US connected device usage increases

June 8, 2023

Research from business services company Assurant reveals the continued rise in connected living, with growth in connected device usage and an increased appetite for 5G devices.

Assurant’s latest Connected Decade research explores US consumers’ attitudes towards connected devices during 2022. According to the research, there was a 39 per cent increase in device usage last year, where the majority of consumers surveyed (60 per cent) connected at least one new or replacement device to their Wi-Fi for the first time.

But while device usage is on the rise and 5G has been a catalyst for driving smartphone upgrades during the past year, US consumers facing inflation and the global cost of living crisis are cautious in their approach to spending on connected devices this year.

According to the study:

  • Only 39 per cent of consumers are likely to upgrade their smartphones in the coming year, compared to 54 per cent in the previous year.
  • Only 30 per cent of consumers are very likely to buy a newer model of their connected devices when the latest version is released — a 23 per cent decrease from 2021.
  • 60 per cent of consumers have already upgraded to a 5G-capable smartphone or are willing to upgrade their device to get 5G capability. This compares to 36 per cent the year before.

“It’s great to see the increased device usage and addition of new devices in the home in the wake of the heavy investments consumers made in connected devices during the pandemic. It clearly shows just how reliant we have become on our devices and the benefits that connected living provides,” said Jeff Unterreiner, President, US Connected Living at Assurant. “As consumers hold on to their connected products for longer in the face of economic uncertainty, service providers and retailers have an opportunity to deepen relationships by offering support and protection solutions that give customers reassurance and peace of mind.”

Assurant’s research also shows that consumer consciousness and the desire to be more sustainable are creating growing demand for refurbished devices. While 35 per cent of consumers were highly interested in buying a refurbished device, almost half (48 per cent) expressed a willingness to pay an optional monthly fee that would support environmental sustainability initiatives.

“We all share a responsibility to ensure that sustainable practices are integrated into the entire device lifecycle. As with smartphones, trade-in and asset value recovery programmes can make a big impact across the connected living ecosystem. What’s great about these programs is that the outcome benefits everyone – consumers, providers, manufacturers and the environment,” continued Unterreiner.

As connected living grows, so too does a desire among consumers for helpful technical support, and protection of their connected devices:

  • 58 per cent of consumers experienced frustrations with Wi-Fi connected consumer electronics or appliances.
  • 58 per cent of consumers who are likely to buy a connected product in the future would be more likely to purchase if offered a value-added service (such as an extended warranty or device protection) to complement the purchase.

“It’s no surprise that consumers want helpful support in setting up these devices, integrating them into their home networks and troubleshooting any issues that arise. And as we’ve seen in our past research, the more people use connected devices, the more value they place on device protection. Having warranties in place helps to ensure people can stay connected if something breaks down. Not only does this present an opportunity to OEMs and retailers who can offer value-added services as part of the sales process, but doing so will improve upon the customer experience,” added Unterreiner.

Categories: 5G, Articles, Connected TV, Consumer Behaviour, Markets, Mobile, Research

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