Internet of Things devices face “lacklustre” demand as consumers are turned off by security, privacy and accessibility concerns, a wide ranging global survey into consumer behaviour has found.
The research from Accenture that tracked 28,000 consumers across 28 countries will make for grim reading, particularly as the technology industry’s focus this week is on CES, which has already seen the likes of connected showers, fridges and smart bras showcased.
The report found almost half of respondents (47 percent) ranked security concerns and privacy risks among the top three barriers to buying an IoT device.
Despite the past 12 months being dominated by giddy predictions about the potential number of IoT devices and product launches like the Apple Watch, consumer demand remains flat. Only nine percent of those polled said they planned to buy the likes of fitness monitors, health devices, smart thermostats and security cameras this year, the same proportion as 12 months ago.
Smartwatches were more popular but only 13 percent of respondents said they would buy one this year, a growth of one percentage point. Accenture said consumers were turned off by low battery lives, ease of use and the products’ design.
Among those who own or plan to buy an IoT device, 69 percent said they were aware their connected device could be hacked, resulting in stolen data or malfunction.
More than a third of that group of consumers said they were using their IoT devices more carefully, 24 percent said they would delay a purchase of a connected product because of fears of compromise and 18 percent stopped using their IoT device because of these concerns.
Sami Luukkonen, Global Managing Director for Accenture’s Electronics and High Tech group, said: “Despite all its promise, the Internet of Things market has revealed itself to be a double-edged sword. The market opportunity is enormous, but security and ease-of-use concerns are hindering its near and long-term potential. To ignite this market, consumer technology companies should consider getting serious about ecosystems, sharing data, and creating integrated services across multiple companies, such as building a connected home through an integrated home security camera, thermostat, and door lock.
“Furthermore, these companies need to consider investing more in innovative services and make consumers’ online lives more secure, convenient and enriching,” Luukkonen added. “Until the promise of IoT meets consumers’ expectations, the IoT market will remain more promise than profit and do little to reinvigorate the overall digital consumer market.”
There was also bleak news for smartphone and tablet makers, with 48 percent of consumer intending to buy the former this year, down six percentage points from 2015. Only 29 percent intend to buy a tablet and 30 percent a television, an eight percentage point drop from 12 months ago.
Luukkonen said: “The slowdown in the consumer technology market is irrefutable, serious and global. The market is not about the glitzy gadgets anymore – rather, it’s about providing secure, innovative and practical digital services and more open collaboration. As device demand tapers off, the industry needs to make a sharp turn toward providing innovative, value-added services that consumers are able to use with confidence.”