Almost a fifth of global consumers are ‘early adopters’ of technology, according to YouGov, which means they are either ‘actively on the lookout’ for new devices and services (9% of the global population) or ‘always keen’ to use new products as soon as they become available (also 9%).
But how do these early adopters perceive technology brands and products, what is their demographic profile, and what are their wider behaviours and attitudes? As part of a study of developed markets across the Americas, Europe and Asia Pacific, YouGov surveyed a nationally representative sample of British consumers, delving particularly into their views on wearable technology.
Here are some of the key findings of the research.
Brits are less likely than others to be early adopters
It seems the famous Great British reserve extends to technology as well as other areas of polite society, as only 11% of consumers are in the early adopters group – less than the average of all markets, with only Russia and Japan recording lower proportions.
Stereotypes die hard, as a large majority of British early adopters are men and almost half are under 35, making these key demographics for brands targeting tech lovers.
British tech lovers are as price-sensitive as everyone else
British early adopters have a slightly higher disposable income than the national average, but they are just as likely as the rest of the country to agree that wearable technology is too expensive (59%).
With high levels of competition and a relatively mature market in this space now, it makes sense that brands need to demonstrate value to appeal to consumers – even those most likely to adopt their technology.
Wearables may be fashionable, but they’re not considered a fad
It’s always a fine line for a product to be considered contemporary and cutting-edge without being fleeting, but wearables successfully achieve that balance in the view of Britain’s early adopters.
They’re more likely than the rest of the country to agree they want to buy wearables because they’re the ‘next big thing’, but also more likely to disagree that they’re just a passing fad. Health benefits are a key reason for their faith – early adopters are more likely than the average Brit to agree wearables encourage people to be more healthy, by a margin of 20 percentage points. Around 60% of all British consumers agree with this too, however.
Almost half of British consumers are technology ‘latecomers’
While considering these insights it’s always worth bearing in mind that the biggest consumer group in the UK is the least technologically advanced – the ‘latecomers’, who only buy new technology when their old products need replacing. In fact they represent almost half of all the country’s consumers (49%), the biggest proportion in any country studied in the survey. Unsurprisingly, the majority of these consumers in Britain are from the oldest age group – more than half are aged over 55.
This suggests it’s important for technology brands to have a good reputation for reliability, especially for those targeting the mass market.
Also in the report
- The demographic breakdown of the five different groups of technology adopters in Britain
- How proportions of each group in the population compare to 24 other developed markets
- Advice for targeting technology consumers in the UK and around the world.