articles | 08 January 2020 | EY Cyprus

EY: Businesses must address digital fatigue and consumer privacy concerns to sustain smart-home demand

While 54% of consumers say the internet is integral to their social lives, nearly half (45%) actively seek time away from their smartphone and other internet-enabled devices — rising to 53% among consumers aged 25-34. This is according to a global EY study, Decoding the digital home, which evaluates consumer attitudes to a range of technology, media and entertainment, and telecommunications (TMT) services within the home across four markets — France, the Netherlands, the UK and the US.

  • 45% of consumers surveyed actively seek respite from internet-enabled devices
  • 72% are concerned about disclosing personal data, even to trusted websites
  • Streaming redefines content consumption and disrupts traditional TV uptake
The survey indicates that take-up rates of smart-home products and services look favorable — with smart utilities seeing the best five-year adoption outlook — but a surge in connectivity now threatens to undermine consumer trust. Most respondents (72% across all markets) say they are cautious about disclosing personal data, while 41% in both the US and UK say they don’t believe their data can ever be fully secure.

Complex customer journey risks alienating consumers

The survey unearths a growing sense of confusion among consumers over an increasingly complex landscape of broadband bundles. Forty-two percent of respondents in France say they find it hard to choose services or packages that suit their needs. Respondents in the UK (32%), US (30%) and the Netherlands (27%) echo this sentiment. Across all markets, nearly half (48%) of consumers say introductory offers make it difficult to understand which internet packages represent the best value.

Meanwhile, almost a quarter of consumers in the US and UK (24% in both markets) are struggling to find their favorite content, in what they perceive to be a crowded service ecosystem. This rises to 34% in the US and 39% in the UK among 18-24-year-olds, indicating that younger consumers may not necessarily find the digital world easier to navigate.

Streaming services challenge traditional broadcasters

Streaming continues to redefine how households consume content, according to the survey. Nearly a third (32%) of respondents are progressing to multiple-device streaming behaviors, while 57% say their household watches short video clips online. This behavioral shift is more advanced in the US, where just 38% favor traditional TV channels, compared with 51% in the UK and 67% in the Netherlands. Charalambos Constantinou, Partner and Head of Advisory Services of EY Cyprus commented: “The growth of internet enabled smart-home services is impressive but should not be taken for granted. Providers need to place data protection at the heart of their strategy to address consumers’ growing concerns. Meanwhile, increasingly complex bundles are alienating consumers. Businesses need to provide greater conveniences, clarity and transparency in their offerings to regain consumers’ confidence.”

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