Convergence is not new – but the way consumers interact with technology is constantly changing. We believe we are in a new phase of convergence: the converged lifestyle. Get ready for some fast technology and even faster consumer adoption.
Ever since our first Consumers and Convergence study in 2006, we have been polling consumers in key markets around the world to find out what devices, technologies and services they are using and how they are using them.
Not surprisingly, we’ve seen a lot of change in just 5 years. In 2006, our questions focused on the use of landlines, mobile texting, instant messaging and internet browsing: smartphones were not widely adopted by consumers, and tablets did not exist. Social media was still in its infancy.
Today, consumers are talking about how technology enables their lifestyle. From buying goods online to keeping up with friends on social networks, consumers seem to be more and more reliant on a range of technologies that perform important – although often overlapping – tasks.
Our survey demonstrates that convergence is alive and well in 2011. Sure, consumers are now faced with a bewildering array of devices. But they all seem to increasingly serve one purpose: to enable consumers to get what they want, when they want it.
The speed of consumer adoption also seems to be on the rise. In just 7 years, Facebook signed up more than 800 million active users; and in just 14 months Apple sold more than 25 million iPad® tablets. But with rapid adoption comes rapid change: business models are quickly evolving for a range of businesses including advertisers, retailers, content providers, mobile operators and banks.
Many traditional businesses are facing significant challenges adapting to this new world. The banking industry, for example, was somewhat slow to adopt online payments and – as a result – lost their share of this growing market to companies such as PayPalTM. What’s more, banks are now seen as being somewhat ‘new’ entrants into the online and mobile markets, and will need to reassert their security and privacy leadership in order to build trust with consumers online.
And while businesses will need to evolve to meet the changing demands of consumers, so too will regulators. New business models often spin off supportive ecosystems and upstart competitors that are important to the continued vitality of the technology industry. Regulators must ensure that the rules promote privacy while still providing the flexibility for companies to innovate.
Our survey also highlights some key considerations that seem to drive consumer purchasing decisions. For one, there is a growing level of consumer concern regarding privacy and security, particularly when using new services or technologies. Indeed, the virtue of ‘trust’ may soon become one of the biggest competitive advantages for products and services across almost all industry groups.
But the results also show that consumers are fixated on price, with many saying that it trumps all other considerations when selecting mobile operators, television options and internet service providers.
We believe these findings and the accompanying analysis demonstrates a continuing – but accelerated – trend towards greater integration of devices within the consumer lifestyle and a rapid evolution of business models for those that enable them.
We encourage you to contact your local KPMG member firm to discuss the implications of these trends on your business.
Sean Collins - Global Chair, Telecommunications & Media
Mark Larson - Global Chair, Retail
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