The embrace of digital tech and the use of different tools runs wide and deep in our lives, with PYMNTS’ survey of over 15,000 U.S. consumers for the “How Consumers Live in the Connected Economy Report,” nine out of 10 consumers said the introduction of digital tools has brought benefits for each “lifestyle pillar” examined.
See the study: How Consumers Live in the Connected Economy
Multiple data points illustrate how strongly consumers have taken to digital tools, which have become nearly ubiquitous. For example, 92% of all consumers — not just tech-savvy millennials — have placed online orders for products and services. More than 85% have paid bills online and managed their banking online, and 72% have booked hotel tickets online.
Digital adoption goes beyond these individual actions, however. A pattern emerges in each pillar: Consumers who use one digital tool tend to avail themselves of others. Thus, more than 70% of consumers have not only paid their bills online, but have also made account-to-account transfers and used apps like PayPal and Venmo.
Another notable pattern within the pillars of shopping, banking, travel and fun is the degree to which digital engagement extends across demographic boundaries. The incomes and ages of highly connected shoppers — those who regularly employ numerous digital tools to conduct their shopping — are similar to those of the general United States population. Their average age is 45, and 61% of them are middle-income or low-income.
But for all the convenience and efficiency that comes with the spread of digital technology, the research showed there are still a few trade-offs and consistent areas of concern when it comes to consumers’ feelings about these daily interactions — for example, the sense of being unable to disconnect or the challenges of learning how to use new tools and services.
The research finds that the pros and cons of digital engagement vary by pillar. Ninety-seven percent of consumers say that digital tools enable improvements in the working realm, while 76% say they also create problems.
Additionally, a similar split was reported concerning the use of digital tools for social engagement, where 91% of consumers believe that tech had positively transformed essential parts of their lives versus 70% of respondents who said that it creates problems.
Although consumers still said the benefits of digital connectivity outweigh the costs, the downside of connectivity cannot be dismissed, as awareness of these primary concerns is as essential as understanding aspects of the technologies themselves.
The data showed that 49% of consumers said wasting time was a downside of using digital tools, while 51% cited security as a drawback. In fact, security was a standout concern cited by 30% of consumers in the home environment, whereas the wasting of time was a leading concern within the social engagement pillar, as noted by 73% of consumers.
The findings clearly highlight data management challenges as a significant pain point for the connected consumers, with 31% saying they consider the storage of personally identifiable information (PII) in too many places —including credit card numbers and bank accounts — to be a huge problem. Other major areas of concern revealed in the survey include trust regarding personal data, logins and passwords, as well as the tracking of websites visited and online profiles.