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Industry News

3 Tech Insights for 2021, Straight from Consumers

December 17, 2020

Software and tech gadgets are developing faster than we could ever have imagined even a decade ago. In many ways, this year has put a spotlight on those advancements as many industries pivot to adapt with unprecedented changes and uncertainty.

More and more everyday products are being replaced by their sophisticated counterparts. And with many of us spending a lot more time at home, consumers are bringing more of these complex products into closer quarters, increasing the demand for products that interact seamlessly with each other and stay in sync even as iterations and updates occur across their tech ecosystems.

A brand-new survey from the Centercode Research Team highlights how the changes to our lives in 2020 haven’t really disrupted our tech habits as much as they have exaggerated them. For instance, online tech shopping was already gaining momentum over in-store retail. This year, however, the percentage of consumers shopping online jumped up 8%.

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This new study looks at consumer attitudes about tech and how they’ve been shaped by this unusual year. Here are three key insights and what they could mean for tech purchasing behaviors in 2021.

Insight 1

Smart home products, headphones, and gaming products are the most popular holiday tech buys for the 3rd year in a row.

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The pandemic has changed a lot, but the dominance of smart home products, headphones, gaming products, laptops, tablets, smartphones, and smart TVs hasn’t budged. These categories have remained at the top of the most purchased list since 2018. And with the rate of evolution and enormous competition in these categories, this seems unlikely to change any time soon.

It’s worth noting that many consumers have already made tech purchases this year in response to the pandemic. A survey conducted by the Centercode Research Team in September revealed that nearly 1 in 4 respondents had subscribed to new streaming services since the pandemic began, 1 in 5 purchased new office tech, and 1 in 7 bought new gaming devices.

3 Tech Insights for 2021, Straight from Consumers

Which products are at the top of the wishlist? Consumers’ 2020 wishlists are full of fan favorites like the iPhone 12, the Oculus Quest, and of course, the Playstation 5. Sony’s latest iteration of their classic gaming console has been consistently selling out since it launched at the beginning of November.

Insight 2

Consumers are most excited to see new products from Amazon and Samsung.

Consumers showed the most excitement for new products from Amazon and Samsung. Following close at their heels? Google, Apple, Microsoft, and Sony.

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How did Amazon and Samsung edge out the competition? We have some ideas. In September, Amazon announced several new and redesigned products launching next year, including Ring’s flying indoor drone and Luna, a new gaming service. Meanwhile, there are rumors that Samsung’s Galaxy flagships are making their debut in January 2021.

Insight 3

Functionality and compatibility matter most to customers.

When asked what most influences their purchasing decisions for consumer electronics, respondents said that functionality was their biggest concern. Ranked as the least important factor? Whether or not the brand is “high-end.”

It’s not hard to imagine that consumers wouldn’t be satisfied with a product that has a high-end name without the functionality to back it up. A third of consumers said they would switch out (read: return) a product for a better match. The takeaway? Consumers won’t be satisfied with a product that only works to spec — it also has to be fit into their daily lives.

Interestingly, however, the biggest influence on purchasing decisions shifts when it comes specifically to smart home products. In Smart Home, compatibility is king. Nearly a third of respondents said the main reason they would return a product is if it wasn’t supported by the tech they already own.

What Does This All Mean for Tech Makers?

Just this: A lot of excitement comes with high expectations for the end product. With functionality and compatibility at the top of the list for the bulk of tech devices, it’s even more important that a product performs as expected from the moment it’s out of the box.

For tech makers, ensuring functionality and compatibility means testing is going to be their trusted companion. And not just any testing, either; continuous testing is key to identifying and resolving any performance issues with the myriad of devices in customers’ real lives. As those environments continue to evolve, the products themselves will need to be tested over and over again to keep customers happy.

It’s quite an undertaking — that’s why we’re here to offer you the support you need with our platform and services. Centercode has helped hundreds of companies perfect thousands of products by introducing specific test scenarios in the homes of real customers. Check out our industry use cases in Making Good Technology Great.

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