The latest data from Accenture shows that consumer purchases of smartphones are making a comeback this year.
After experiencing a three-year low in 2016, smartphone sales in 2017 are looking up. Accenture’s new Dynamic Digital Consumers survey points to better security, new functions, improved performance and device refresh schedules as fueling the boost.
“Improved features and falling prices are key reasons consumers around the world are signaling a desire to buy new smartphones,” David Sovie, global managing director for Accenture’s Electronics and High-Tech business, said in a statement.
“Growing acceptance of services powered by artificial intelligence, such as voice assistants, is also fueling this market upswing. 2017 will be the year when artificial intelligence goes mainstream in consumer devices,” Sovie added.
In its survey of 26,000 consumers across 26 countries, Accenture found that more than half (54 percent) of those surveyed said they plan to buy a smartphone in the next year, up from 48 percent in 2016.
Among all consumers surveyed, the leading push for increased purchasing intent is the ability to access the newest and most innovative features and functions, which was expressed by 51 percent of respondents, compared with only 41 percent last year.
The resurgence of the smartphone market will also be driven by inadequate performance of existing devices, which has 45 percent of consumers opting to buy new smartphones.
The survey also found that consumer demand for connected devices, such as smartwatches and fitness monitors, will remain slow this year. This is mainly due to high prices and ongoing concerns about security and privacy of personal data on connected devices.
“The ‘insecurity of things’ is a major industry challenge,” added Sovie. “There are widespread consumer concerns about the privacy of their personal data being stolen or compromised. And relative to the value delivered, prices of these connected devices remain too high. Market momentum for these devices will stall unless the industry overcomes these obstacles. If that happens, market demand could accelerate quickly.”
On the other hand, consumers are increasingly embracing artificial intelligence capabilities such as digital voice assistants. Respondents said they are interested in personal health assistants (cited by 60 percent), smart trip assistants (59 percent) and entertainment advisors (51 percent).