When out shopping these days, Australian consumers are ever more likely to turn to their personal computers (PCs), smartphones and tablet PCs to find gifts, check recommendations, and compare prices, according to the results from KPMG International’s 5th Annual Consumers and Convergence survey.
KPMG’s latest survey reveals both consistencies and anomalies in consumer preferences year over year in content and device use, which hints at new directions for the future of digital commerce and those who compete in the space, according to KPMG authors of the report.
“Five years running, our global Consumers and Convergence survey shows that the pace of change continues to accelerate,” said Malcolm Alder, KPMG National Managing Partner, Digital Economy. “Like consumers worldwide, Australians are increasingly willing to adopt new technologies and digital business models, and that spells big opportunities and risks for service providers, retailers, media companies, banks and the host of other players vying for a piece of the digital value chain.”
However, while we are more likely to adopt new technology than almost anywhere else in the world, we remain more concerned about security and privacy, and we are well behind our global counterparts in willingness to store data in the web (43 percent for Australia vs 65 percent for global results), indicating that perhaps there was a lack of understanding about how much of our personal data is already stored using cloud computing.
Other findings in the latest survey show that the number of ‘mobile only’ homes has shifted significantly from 10 percent in May 2010 to 18 percent this year.
“With the implementation of fast speed broadband (NBN) across Australia, the rationale for maintaining a fixed line service for internet access and reliability, is weakening.” Alder commented.
Globally, there has been a fivefold increase in respondents who prefer to use their mobile devices for web browsing, news and shopping. Television viewing also saw a decline with 51 percent of respondents now preferring to watch TV and movies online on their computers and 24 percent on their smartphones.
Mr Alder notes: “Interestingly, we have seen a huge shift in the adoption of technology in the last 18 months in Australia. Tablets were not even included in the 2010 survey, and have gone from nowhere to 12 percent penetration, and smart phones have supplanted PDAs and Blackberries.”
“The appetite of consumers to adopt new technologies means that a digital strategy should be a core component of any business in the retail, media, banking and service provider sectors,” Alder added.
Despite the readiness of Australians to adopt new technologies, the most significant barrier to new digital models continues to be concerns over data privacy and security. The number of people concerned about these issues has increased from 75 percent to 90 percent.
“I am astonished when I see that data privacy and security is not only the most critical issue among consumers worldwide, but that year-over-year those concerns increase,” said Alder. “This is a key issue that should have been addressed by now. Whoever can master the privacy challenge will gain a significant competitive edge. There is more work to be done her in making consumers feel more confident.”
Consumers themselves point to the potential solutions with 76 percent citing better disclosure of security measures taken and 72 percent wanting to see third-party audits/certifications.