But consumers are wondering when is it too much? Does technology bring us closer together – or drive us further apart? What underlying human values drive the constant dance of technology adoption/rejection?
To dig deeper into these underlying drivers and probe people's seeming love/hate relationship with their everyday technology, Ketchum developed the Digital Living Index. The Index used cultural anthropology as a lens to survey more than 6,000 people in six countries and determine the impact of the human experience on technology attitudes and aspirations.
- What people want most is simplicity. The study showed that 76% of consumers said they are not very satisfied with technology's ability to make their life simpler. In fact, more prefer technology to be easy to use (54%) and simplify their life (46%) than to entertain them (35%) or signal who they are to the world (11%).
- Simplicity is also where people are most disappointed. There is a 25–percentage point gap – one of the biggest in the study -- between what consumers expect from personal technology and what they feel they are getting in the area of simplification.
- Cultural DNA raises questions about common technology myths. Calling into question widely held beliefs such as 'technology sells itself' or 'mobile technology makes physical location unimportant', the Index shows that cultural DNA strongly affects how people feel about technology and what trade-offs they will make. The percentage of Chinese who love smartphones (44%) is nearly double those in France (24%) and higher than those in the UK or Spain. Germans are more willing to trade off simplification for empowerment. The US places an above-average emphasis on technology as an expression of personal values.
- Segment by the human experience, not just demographics. Analyzing study participants by their values and attitudes, the Index reveals four kinds of Digital Living natives: Enthusiasts (37% of the study's global population), Infomaniacs (25%), Pragmatists (22%) and Disconnects (16%). Each group was almost evenly split between men and women -- showing that cultural DNA is a stronger predictor of type than gender is.
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To learn more about insights from the Digital Living Index and implications for marketers and communicators, please view the executive summary and video on this page. If you would like to receive a more detailed look at the study findings, please complete the fields below.