IDC Identifies 10 Technology Trends Transforming Consumer Behavior

As digital transformation takes root across the consumer ecosystem, businesses must expand and deepen their relationships with consumers to better understand their wants, needs and aspirations, according to future consumer research from International Data Corporation. Through its expanded future consumer research, IDC aims to is help businesses — whether they serve consumers directly or indirectly — better align their products, services and business strategies with the evolving consumer audience.

“Technology is causing massive shifts in the way consumers live their lives, and technology companies, from hardware vendors to software developers to service and infrastructure providers, must think hard about how these shifts will impact their future offerings,” Tom Mainelli, group vice president of devices and consumer research at IDC, said. “IDC believes that organizations must redefine their mission to be more relevant to the individual to drive toward that successful future. This new approach requires rethinking company operating models and cross-industry business models with an eye toward better understanding and enabling cooperation and collaboration with adjacent companies and industries.”

As part of its future consumer research, IDC identified 11 tech trends that are driving the transformation of consumer behavior and markets:

  1. New Pricing and Business Models – Subscriptions, Bundling and Loyalty: Hardware products, in addition to media and services, are moving toward a subscription model.
  2. On-Body Ecosystems – Phone, Wrist/Hand, Ears: Gradually, more people will use multiple devices that work as integrated ecosystems.
  3. Wireless and Broadband Connectivity – 5G, Wi-Fi 6, Bluetooth, WANs and more: Digital connectivity will become more reliable, responsive and seamless to enable more engaging and immersive experiences.
  4. Augmented and Virtual Reality: Vendors have struggled to develop AR and VR that consumers will embrace widely. Over the next five years, vendors will crack the code on augmented audio and improve AR for phones, smart glasses and VR goggles.
  5. A Growing Range of Digital Productivity Devices: Many people start with a smartphone, and many will grow into using an integrated digital service platform across their PC, tablet, smart speaker and virtual desktop service.
  6. Consumers Are Blending Work and Personal Devices, Services and Places: The COVID-19 pandemic has accelerated the consumerization trend, as work from home and touchless workflow drive greater use of personal technologies for work.
  7. Smart Connected Products – Body, Home, Transportation, IoT: Internet of Things technology is enabling a wide range of smart, connected products that upgrade or transform many experiences, especially for well-being.
  8. Personal Digital/Cloud Services for Life, Security and Privacy: Solutions will help consumers manage an unruly combination of personal services and experiences by improving password management, financial monitoring and security services.
  9. Digital Media, Social Media and Advertising Are Colliding: Consumers are embracing digital streaming and the creator economy while dodging advertising, challenging business models.
  10. Digital Money – Wallets, Payments, Currency and Crypto: Asian consumers are already deep into super apps for payment, while the pandemic has pushed western consumers away from currency to cards, tap-to-pay and digital wallets but not into super apps. Much more change is on the horizon.
  11. AI and ML Infrastructure Will Enable New Consumer Services: Consumers don’t use artificial intelligence and machine learning, but they do embrace experiences that those technologies enable. Advances will enable experiences such as selective listening and highly personalized media.

IDC’s future consumer framework focuses on eight consumer segments: entertainment, housing, travel and dining, personal mobility, money, shopping, lifelong learning and well-being. IDC provides clients with access to three distinct research services:

  • Consumer Pulse Service: A primary research program that surveys consumers in seven countries to monitor attitudes, mindsets, spending and brand perceptions across the eight future consumer segments.
  • Consumer Market Model: A worldwide data set that includes historical data and five-year forecasts of consumer digital activity and spending across a range of technologies, broken out for eight regions and 51 countries.
  • Future Consumer Agenda: Thought leadership program that articulates a long-term view of the technology and society shifts that will impact consumers and the companies, organizations and governments that serve them.

IDC recently hired Frank Gillett to lead the future consumer agenda service. In addition to establishing the direction of the future consumer research agenda, he will collaborate with analysts from across IDC to illustrate how changes across the consumer landscape will affect consumer-facing companies, technology vendors and other organizations and shape future business and societal outcomes.

Gillett has 26 years of experience as an industry analyst, most recently as vice president and principal analyst at Forrester Research. He has experience investigating, predicting and advising on technology-driven innovation that drives new business strategies, service-based products, customer behaviors and consumer trends.

“Digital transformation is happening across the consumer economy, which is two-thirds of all global economic activity. This transformation is creating more and deeper relationships with consumers, resulting in disruption and change that ripples across markets and up supply chains,” Gillett said. “To understand consumer transformation, IDC will use a holistic approach to go beyond technologies and markets. The future consumer services will use a shared framework focused on eight consumer activities. With this framework, we’ll tell comprehensive stories about the future consumer and how they’re using technology to transform life’s activities.”

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