Consumer purchases of smartphones are expected to show signs of resurgence this year – with 54 per cent of consumers saying they plan to buy a smartphone within the next year, up from 48 per cent last year.
The survey by Accenture, of 26,000 consumers in 26 countries, found that Chinese, Indian and American consumers are the main reason behind the upturn. 74 per cent of Chinese consumers are intending on purchasing a smartphone in the next 12 months, up from 61 per cent last year, while India is up to 79 per cent (from 68 per cent) and the US up to 52 per cent (from 38 per cent).
51 per cent (41 per cent last year) of respondents cited improved features as the leading driver for their purchase intent. A further important factor is the inadequacy of current devices – with 45 per cent (from 33 per cent) citing this as the reason for their potential upcoming purchase.
“Improved features and falling prices are key reasons consumers around the world are signaling a desire to buy new smartphones,” said David Sovie, global managing director for Accenture’s electronics and high-tech business.
The survey, where respondents were aged 14-to-55 and over, also revealed that 84 per cent of consumers between 14 and 17 years old either use AI technology or are interested in doing. This significant percentage comes from just four per cent of people overall who own an AI assistant.
Despite this, many consumers are willing to embrace AI-powered services. 60 per cent said they are interested in personal health assistant, 59 per cent smart trip assistants and 51 per cent in entertainment advisors.
Sovie continued: “Growing acceptance of services powered by artificial intelligence, such as voice assistants, is also fueling this market upswing. 2017 will be the year when artificial intelligence goes mainstream in consumer devices.”
However, for all the positives, personal data concerns remain widespread. 87 per cent of respondents are concerned about the security of financial transactions, while 89 per cent are worried companies they have not approved could have access to their financial information. There is good news for device manufacturers though – as they are more trusted with personal data than telecom providers, banks and search engine companies.
A further negative is, although smartphone purchases are expected to rise, the same cannot be said for other connected devices. In the short term, only 10 per cent of respondents said they would purchase a connected surveillance camera in the next year – this increases to 46 per cent within the next five years. Similarly, 44 per cent (12 per cent this year) intend to buy a wearable fitness monitor in the next five years and 42 per cent a smart home thermostat (eight per cent this year).
“The ‘insecurity of things’ is a major industry challenge,” added Sovie. “There are widespread consumer concerns about the privacy of their personal data being stolen or compromised. And relative to the value delivered, prices of these connected devices remain too high. Market momentum for these devices will stall unless the industry overcomes these obstacles. If that happens, market demand could accelerate quickly.”