Insight Report: Consumer Electronics – Awareness, Purchase Interest, and Persuadable Buyers for Newer Products

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Publication Date: January 5, 2015 | Download a PDF version

Report overview: Corresponding to the annual Consumer Electronics Show, held January 6-9, 2015, data from the CivicScience InsightStore™ provides some strong research insights into consumer awareness, sentiment, and intent toward many emerging consumer electronics products.

The summary findings of this report are:

  • Of all the products included in our study, wireless speaker products are furthest along in product adoption, with the highest levels of awareness, interest, and ownership.
  • Smart home security products are grabbing attention, with the highest level of purchase interest relative to product awareness.
  • Interest in personal drone products is significantly higher among males.
  • Despite all the pre-availability buzz, Google Glass rates low in awareness and interest.
  • Among wearable consumer tech devices, fitness trackers out-rank smart watches and are more attractive to female consumers.

Consumer Electronics Show 2015 research data

The international Consumer Electronics Show (CES), January 6-9, 2015, always brings major product launch announcements, industry trend data, market analysis, and predictions. The data from the CivicScience InsightStore™ provides some strong research insights into consumer awareness, sentiment, and intent toward many emerging consumer products – and in this report, we highlight some of those findings to coincide with CES 2015.

We touch on several consumer electronic product categories:

  • Home products, including smart home security, robotics, wireless speakers, and curved TVs
  • Wearables, including fitness trackers, smart watches, smart clothing, and Google Glass
  • Personal drones

Many more product categories, and even specific brands, are tracked in the InsightStore™ — but the mix of those products included here was chosen by CivicScience due to industry buzz and analyst coverage for their potential to become more popular with the mainstream in 2015.

About our methodology: All of the data reported in this report was collected through our web-based polling network from 12/2/2014 to 12/29/2014, during which time we served 10 specific consumer electronics questions and then cross-tabbed the respondents to those questions against dozens of other syndicated questions that those same respondents may have also answered over time. Each of the consumer electronics questions had a minimum of 1,500 respondents who were U.S. adults, 18 and older, weighted for U.S. Census representativeness for gender and age.

Consumer Interest in Purchasing Various Emerging Electronics Products

For this portion of our study, we included the following mix of consumer tech products: wireless speakers, home robotics, smart home security, personal drones, smart clothing, and Google Glass.

We used this question format to capture both sentiment and awareness: “How interested would you be in purchasing [product]?” The answer options provided were:

  • I already own [product]
  • Very interested
  • Somewhat interested
  • Not very interested
  • I’ve never heard of [product]

The incidence rate for those owning any of these products was low (under 5%) – except in the case of wireless speakers, for which 13% of consumers say they already own.

We focused on the two answer categories that we group into what we will call the Persuadables, made up of those who answered that they are “very” or “somewhat” interested in purchasing that product. We then visualized those respondents against awareness levels, by eliminating those who said they have “never heard of” that type of product.

In the chart that follows, the data shows that among U.S. adults, there exists a strong correlation of awareness of a product category to future purchase interest:

Consumer electronics awareness and purchase interest

Two of the product categories – smart clothing and Google Glass – have less than 80% consumer awareness, which can be explained by their relative newness to the market (although Google Glass certainly has had its share of press coverage).

Wireless speakers have both the highest level of awareness (95%) and purchase interest (35%), and we previously noted their current ownership rate is highest too. However, the home robotics category, with 93% of awareness, has a lower level of purchase interest (26%) than smart home security (32% to its 91% of awareness).

Let’s take a deeper look into the attributes of the Persuadable consumers for each of these three categories:

Wireless Speaker Persuadables

  • The gender split here is 55% men, 45% women.
  • Interest indexes higher than average among those aged 18-34.
  • Those making $25,000-$35,000 and also those making $75,000 – $100,000 are more likely to show interest.
  • Those living in the suburbs are slightly more likely than average to have an interest in a future purchase of wireless speakers.
  • They are slightly more likely than average to closely follow music trends, and 53% more likely to say that music is important to them.

Home Robotics Persuadables

  • The gender split is even: 50% men / 50% women.
  • Interest indexes higher among those under age 45.
  • The products are more likely to appeal to those in the broad household income range of $25,000 to $100,000.
  • There is slightly more interest than average among suburban consumers.
  • This group is 25% more likely to try new products before others.
  • They are more likely to say they are a fashion follower vs. a fashion innovator or leader.
  • When it comes to active use of various social media platforms (daily or weekly use), 59% are active on Facebook, 17% on Twitter, 13% on Pinterest, and 9% on Instagram.

Smart Home Security Persuadables

  • The gender split is 54% men / 46% women.
  • Those who are “very” interested index higher among those under age 45.
  • These respondents are more likely to be in the income range of $100,000 to $150,000.
  • In terms of education level, this group is more likely to hold some college to Bachelor’s degree.
  • They are 33% more likely to try new products before others.
  • Ironically, they tend to be less concerned or the same as average when it comes to crime in their community, but those who have already purchased a smart home security product index much higher than average as being “very concerned” about crime where they live.
  • 57% are active on Facebook, 20% on Twitter, 18% on Instagram, and 11% on Pinterest.

What CivicScience sees from studying this type of data about general product interest is that younger consumers overall tend to have higher interest levels and demonstrate earlier adoption rates toward newer products, often independent of their concern for the “problem” with which the product seeks to help. This sentiment – and corresponding behavior – seems to be more about possessing the newest device technology than it does about finding a specific solution to an issue.

As an additional note of interest, personal drone purchase interest ranks extremely high among men: the gender split is 71% male to 29% female among respondents in those Persuadable answer categories. It spans a wider age range (18-54), is more likely favored by those earning a higher income ($75,000 to $100,000), and indexes slightly higher among suburban and rural dwellers than urbanites.

Wearable Consumer Electronics

Wearable consumer electronics devices have been on the market for several years, with most consumers (79%) aware of wearable fitness trackers (i.e. FitBit, Nike Fuel Band) and smart watches. Google Glass falls into our wearables category and became available for consumers to purchase in 2014 (for a price tag of $1,500). And a new, emerging category called “smart clothing” is expected to generate more buzz in the coming year, with products that can do everything from track your temperature, monitor fitness ‘vitals’, report on environmental data, and even dynamically change colors based on sensory inputs.

We asked U.S. adult consumers to pick which one of those wearable products is of highest interest to them:

Consumer interest in wearable technology

The majority (69%) of consumers currently have no interest in any of the listed wearable consumer tech products. Among the remaining 31% of respondents, wearable fitness trackers was the most popular choice, followed by smart watches. Google Glass and the newest entrant of smart clothing ranked at the bottom.

We asked separate specific questions about the two leading wearables products: “Which of following best describes your experience with [wearable fitness trackers/activity bands] / [smart watches]?” Each question presented the answer options of:

  • I own one and like it
  • I own one but don’t use it much
  • I don’t own one but plan to get one  (*We’ll refer to this answer option for the “Persuadables”)
  • I don’t own one and don’t plan to get one
  • What’s a [product category name]?

Even though the awareness of smart watches and wearable fitness trackers is equal among consumers, the fitness trackers currently have higher ownership rates (10% vs. 3%) and slightly greater desirability to own (8% vs. 5%).

Smart Watches and Fitness Trackers Ownership - January 2015

Let’s review some key attributes between the Persuadables here when compared to the average respondents to each question. Both product categories are understandably more desirable to exercise enthusiasts who work out several times a week. In terms of differences, wearable trackers index significantly higher among women than smart watches – with 62% of women expressing desire to own a fitness tracker vs. 49% for smart watches. Smart watches have higher interest to a somewhat wider age range (18-34 vs. 18-24 for wearable fitness trackers). Smart watches also tend to have higher interest in those with incomes over $100,000.

Will Sentiment for Curved TVs Bend in 2015?

With curved television offerings having launched about a year ago, consumers still seem to be quite skeptical. Adoption rates are very low, as is intent to acquire such as product:

Curved TVs and Consumer Adoption

Only about 2% of consumers say they’ve purchased a curved TV, with little more than half of those saying they don’t like it. Another 8% of consumers express desire to own one.

However, awareness of curved TV products sits at about 69%, which is the lowest of all the consumer electronics products we studied in this report. As we have seen with other products, as awareness increases, consumer interest should naturally follow. The use of segment-based consumer research data can further help these manufacturers’ with their marketing plans for this new product offering.

About the CivicScience Methodology:
CivicScience collects real-time consumer research data via polling applications that run on hundreds of U.S. publisher websites, cycling through thousands of active questions on any given day. Respondents are 100% voluntary opt-in with no incentives, compensation or coercion — they answer just for fun and are kept anonymous, allowing for greatly reduce bias and higher levels of engagement. Respondents for this report were weighted for U.S. Census representativeness for gender and age, 18 years and older, and data was collected from December 2, 2014 to December 29, 2014. Using its technology, CivicScience builds deep, timely psychographic profiles of these anonymous respondents with each question they answer over time, providing valuable consumer sentiment and behavior insight data to the decision makers who care. The CivicScience methodology has been scientifically validated by a team of academic leaders and by independent research firms. CivicScience currently has more than 28.5 million anonymous consumer profiles stored, growing daily.

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© January 2015. CivicScience, Inc.