Technology trends

IDC identifies 10 technology trends that are transforming consumer behavior

As digital transformation takes root in the consumer ecosystem, companies need to broaden and deepen their relationships with consumers to better understand their wants, needs and aspirations, according to future consumer research from International Data Company. Through its in-depth research on future consumers, IDC aims to help companies—whether serving consumers directly or indirectly—better align their products, services, and business strategies with the changing consumer audience.

“Technology is causing massive changes in the way consumers live their lives, and technology companies, from hardware vendors and software developers to service and infrastructure providers, need to seriously consider the impact of these changes on their future offerings,” Tom Mainelli, group vice president of devices and consumer research at IDC, said. “IDC believes that organizations need to redefine their mission to be more relevant to the individual in order to navigate this prosperous future. This new approach requires rethinking business operating models and cross-industry business models to better understand and enable cooperation and collaboration with adjacent businesses and industries.

As part of its future consumer research, IDC has identified 11 technology trends that are driving the transformation of consumer behavior and markets:

  1. New Pricing and Business Models – Subscriptions, Bundles and Loyalty: Hardware products, in addition to media and services, are moving towards a subscription model.
  2. Body ecosystems – phone, wrist/hand, ears: Gradually, more and more people will use multiple devices that work as integrated ecosystems.
  3. Wireless and broadband connectivity – 5G, Wi-Fi 6, Bluetooth, WAN and more: Digital connectivity will become more reliable, responsive and seamless to enable more engaging and immersive experiences.
  4. Augmented and Virtual Reality: Vendors have struggled to develop augmented reality and virtual reality that consumers will widely adopt. Over the next five years, vendors will crack the code of augmented audio and improve AR for phones, smart glasses and virtual reality glasses.
  5. A growing range of digital productivity devices: Many people start with a smartphone, and many will end up using an integrated digital service platform on their PC, tablet, smart speaker, and virtual office service.
  6. Consumers mix work and personal devices, services and places: The COVID-19 pandemic has accelerated the consumerization trend, as working from home and contactless workflow drive greater use of personal technologies for work.
  7. Smart connected products – Body, Home, Transport, IoT: Internet of Things technology enables a wide range of smart and connected products that enhance or transform many experiences, especially for well-being.
  8. Personal digital/cloud services for life, security and privacy: The solutions will help consumers manage an unruly mix of personal services and experiences by improving password management, financial monitoring and security services.
  9. Digital media, social media and advertising collide: Consumers are embracing digital streaming and the creator economy while avoiding advertising, challenging business models.
  10. Digital Currency – Wallets, Payments, Currency & Crypto: Asian consumers are already deep into super payment apps, while the pandemic has pushed western consumers away from cash towards cards, tap-to-pay and digital wallets, but not super apps. Many more changes are on the horizon.
  11. AI and ML infrastructure will enable new consumer services: Consumers are not using AI and machine learning, but they are embracing the experiences these technologies enable. Advances will enable experiences such as selective listening and highly personalized media.

IDC’s future consumer framework focuses on eight consumer segments: entertainment, housing, travel and dining, personal mobility, money, shopping, lifelong learning, and well-being. IDC offers its customers access to three distinct research services:

  • Consumer impulse service: A lead research program that surveys consumers in seven countries to monitor attitudes, mindsets, spending and brand perceptions in eight future consumer segments.
  • Consumer market model: A global dataset that includes historical data and five-year forecasts of consumer digital activity and spending across a range of technologies, broken down for eight regions and 51 countries.
  • Future consumer agenda: Thought leadership program that articulates a long-term vision of technological and societal changes that will impact consumers and the businesses, organizations and governments that serve them.

IDC recently hired Frank Gillett to lead the future consumer calendar service. In addition to setting the direction for the future consumer research agenda, he will collaborate with analysts across IDC to illustrate how changes in the consumer landscape will affect consumer-facing businesses, technology providers and other organizations and will shape future business and societal outcomes.

Gillett has 26 years of experience as an industry analyst, most recently as Vice President and Principal Analyst at Forrester Research. He has experience researching, forecasting and advising on technology-driven innovation that drives new business strategies, service-based products, customer behaviors and consumer trends.

“Digital transformation is happening across the entire consumer economy, which accounts for two-thirds of all global economic activity. This transformation is creating deeper and deeper relationships with consumers, driving disruption and change. that impact markets and supply chains,” said Gillett. “To understand consumer transformation, IDC will use a holistic approach to go beyond technologies and markets. Future consumer services will use a framework focused on eight consumer activities. With this framework, we will tell comprehensive stories about the future consumer and how they are using technology to transform life activities.”