Consumers’ Digital Engagement Grows in 2023 as the Number and Frequency of Digital Activities Grow

people looking at smartphone

There’s been a significant increase in digital engagement across all age groups and income brackets over the past year, PYMNTS Intelligence has found, with the share of consumers engaging in daily digital activities jumping 6.5% compared to the previous year. 

Digital engagement is defined as the number of individuals who use digital methods to conduct certain activities, the overall number of activities consumers access through digital methods and the frequency with which they use digital methods to perform those activities, as noted in the latest edition of the “How The World Does Digital report. 

The global research study surveyed over 17,500 consumers across 11 countries about their digital engagement in 37 key activities spread across 10 broad categories — the pillars of the ConnectedEconomy™ — that represent their daily routines. The resulting data unveiled a comprehensive view of global and country-specific digital transformation progress, among other insights. 

According to the study, baby boomers and seniors have made remarkable strides in closing the digital engagement gap with their more digital-savvy younger counterparts. High-income earners have also shown a significant increase in their digital activities compared to middle- and low-income earners.

The report also highlighted the network effects between different digital activities, where increased engagement in one activity leads to increased engagement in similar, related activities. “These positive network effects climbed 4.4% between Q1 2022 and Q1 2023, with digital travel and shopping activities as the biggest cornerstones of this increased digital engagement,” the study noted. 

For instance, when it comes to digital retail shopping activities, a 10% surge in engagement led to a 7% uptick in online grocery purchases and a 6.4% increase in restaurant transactions. Health- and travel-related activities follow closely behind at 6.9% each. Additionally, there was a noticeable uptick in digital engagement in entertainment activities, such as streaming or gaming.

For digital travel activities, a 10% increase in engagement resulted in a 7% upswing in digital health-related activities, a 7.1% surge in digital home-management activities, a nearly 7% rise in digital grocery orders and a 5.6% increase in engagement in social digital activities, on average.

Other examples of highly connected activities include the fact that more than 60% of consumers using wearable technology for health monitoring also used connected devices for home monitoring, while 63% used connected security systems. Similarly, nearly 70% of telehealth patients integrated mental health or relaxation apps into their routine.

Examining the data further reveals that 61% of consumers shopping on retail marketplaces also placed orders through aggregators in the month leading up to the survey. Moreover, among rideshare users, 66% used apps not only for rides but also to check schedules, routes or purchase local transportation fares.

The report concluded that the global digital transformation is deepening, with consumers engaging in more digital activities daily than ever before. The network effects between different activities, combined with the widespread adoption of digital wallets, play a crucial role in driving this ongoing transformation.

As digital engagement continues to rise across various activities, it is expected to propel the growth of the digital economy and shape the everyday lives of millions of consumers worldwide.