Internet connectivity is increasingly standard with consumer electronic devices, as Alison Casey, Head of Global Content, Futuresource Consulting, explains, and device manufacturers are using content to drive brand loyalty.
Almost three-quarters of connected TV owners are using their TV to connect to the internet according to a new consumer research study in the ‘Living with Digital’ series from Futuresource Consulting. Connection rates are highest in France at 71% and lowest in the UK at 56%. However, with increasing numbers of Wi-Fi enabled models emerging into the market, these figures are set to rise.
Putting the research in context, internet connectivity has expanded rapidly in recent years with a wide array of mass market home and mobile devices now offering access. Until relatively recently, if someone wanted to connect to the internet the only route was via a PC or laptop, but now almost every type of consumer electronics device comes with internet connectivity as standard.
At the same time, many of these products – led by the smartphone – have seen an explosion in sales growth, taking some of these items to mass market status. This trend has radically changed the way that consumers live their lives, carrying out interactions and functions on the move that were previously confined to the home or office. Watching TV and movies and playing games on the move have all become commonplace, while online shopping, web surfing and social networking have become significantly more popular as the range and ownership of connected devices has expanded.
Hampered by the poor economic climate, consumers are no longer buying and replacing consumer electronics products in the same way that they did in the past, while the growing array of multi-functional devices is removing the need for some standalone products. The competitive situation has become more intense as a range of new products bring new brands to a business once dominated by traditional CE suppliers.
As a result, gaining insights into what drives brand loyalty and what influences new purchases is becoming more and more important.
Our new study explores digital entertainment behaviours and is nationally representative by age and by gender, focusing on the key growth areas of connected TVs, smartphones, tablets, eBooks and eReaders. Conducted in March 2012, a total of 4,000 consumers aged from 16 to more than 66 years old completed the online survey across the US, UK, France and Germany.
Results from the study show that ‘Watching Videos on YouTube’ was the most frequently used aspect of a connected TV by respondents in households which own a connected TV in Germany and France, while in the US the most frequently mentioned aspect was ‘Watching Movies’. In the UK ‘Watching Catch-up TV’ was mentioned as the most frequently used aspect.
62% of respondents said they interact with additional electronic devices while watching TV, with laptops and mobile phones being the devices most commonly used. Although the majority are doing completely unrelated activities, a significant 25% of respondents are now going online to find out more about the programme that they are watching. Looking to the apps, YouTube is undoubtedly the most popular app for connected TV across all countries, with Germany and France also favouring Facebook; BBC iPlayer in the UK and Netflix in the US.
In addition, nearly half of all respondents download apps onto their smartphone and/or tablet. Apple device owners are more likely to download apps than those with other brands, with the most frequently downloaded genres for both devices being games, social networking and weather, plus news, books and music for tablets. The most popular ways to search for new apps is via online app stores or by word of mouth, with 85% being downloaded through dedicated stores. Tablet owners are most likely to pay for apps and, by country, respondents from the US were found to be more willing to pay.
Looking at respondents with children, the study found that laptops are the devices most commonly used by children. 44% use a smartphone, with over half using them to listen to music. 20% use a tablet to surf the web in addition to listening to music and 33% watch video content on connected devices. The study also identified availability and choice of content as key differentiators in brand selection when purchasing devices.
As a result, those companies that have realized the importance of content to help develop brand loyalty have been the clear winners. Companies like Apple, Samsung and Amazon have developed comprehensive content ecosystems, which have been fundamental in helping to lock consumers in and grow market share.