Smartphone and IoT trends

A new study released by B2X, the leading provider of customer care for smart mobile and Internet of Things (IoT) devices, found that global consumers’ dependence on their smartphones continues to grow, while they also rapidly adopt a new generation of IoT devices. Accordingly, consumers continue to pay more and more for their smartphones, and fast and easy access to customer care continues to be the #1 criteria for consumer satisfaction.


The Smartphone and IoT Consumer Trends 2017 study, published by B2X in cooperation with Prof. Dr. Anton Meyer and Prof. Dr. Thomas Hess from the Institutes of Marketing and New Media at the Ludwig-Maximilians University of Munich, offers useful insights on smartphone and IoT trends, customer care experiences and preferences, consumer usage as well as some fun facts on consumers’ relationships with their devices.

“This study confirms the importance of customer care to the world’s smartphone and IoT brands,” commented Rainer Koppitz, B2X Chief Executive Officer. “Consumers rely on their devices more than ever, and one of the best ways to strengthen and protect your brand is to offer consistently excellent support across the globe.”

Here’s a summary of the key findings:

Digital dependence and compulsive smartphone use is growing, day and night.

  • One quarter of Millennials look at their phone more than 100+ times a day versus less than one tenth of Baby Boomers. And nearly half of Millennials look at their phone more than 50 times a day, three times the rate of Baby Boomers (15.9%). In the United States, a slightly higher 27% of Millennials checked their phone 100+ times a day versus 16% in Germany and 31% in India.
  • 25% of Millennials spend more than 5 hours on their smartphone each day and more than 50% spend at least 3 hours compared to a quarter of Baby Boomers. Baby boomers in the US who spend at least 3 hours on their phone are close to the global average, while Baby Boomers in India (42%) and Brazil (49%) are much heavier users.
  • Consumers are always on call. 85% of global consumers keep their smartphone in direct reach all the time, and more than a quarter keep it on their body all the time, even at night.
  • And they have a need for speed. 57% of smartphone users expect friends and family to respond to messages immediately or at least within a few minutes.

Consumers will give up family and friends, even go to prison to not lose their smartphones.

  • Global smartphone users won’t give up their device for one month, even if they were offered a day with their favorite celebrity (74%), a 10% salary increase (56%), an extra week of vacation (50%), $1,000 dollars (41%) or a holiday at their dream destination (28%).
  • They’d also give up family, friends or sex for a week before their smartphone. Americans were the most likely (11%) to give up their partner or spouse for a month in order to not lose their phone for a year.
  • 4% would even go to prison for a month to not lose their smartphone for a year.
  • Finally, consumers regularly feel frustrated (27%), lost (26%), stressed (19%) and sad (16%) without their smartphones.

Consumers are buying more and more expensive smartphones, and consumer IoT devices are going mainstream.

  • Nearly 10% of global consumers plan to spend more than $750 on their next smartphone and 26% plan to spend at least $500 versus the 9% who spent that much on their current smartphone. In the US, one third of consumers plan to spend at least $500 for their next smartphone.
  • Smartphone customer care, technical capabilities and the quality of materials are the three most frequently mentioned factors for customer satisfaction, globally. In the US, accessibility of service was the most influential factor on customer satisfaction.
  • Consumer IoT device ownership is expected to grow in the high triple digit percentage range, from 250% for virtual reality headsets to nearly 500% for drones. The two other categories set for highest growth are smart home automation (330%) and smart security systems (275%).
  • Today’s most popular, currently owned IoT devices include GPS devices, WiFi speakers and streaming set-top boxes.

“Gartner estimates that there will be 14 billion IoT devices in use by 2020 plus an additional 6 billion smartphones according to IHS,” said Prof. Dr. Thomas Hess, Director of the Institute for Information Systems and New Media at the Ludwig-Maximilians University of Munich. “People want to connect everything in their lives. They want to automate their home, experience Virtual Reality and use Smart Digital Assistants. And it’s all happening now.”

When it comes to customer care, consumers still want in-store service, fast repairs and in the most highly addicted countries, insurance.

  • The store where consumers bought their smartphone is the most popular option for customer service and support, followed by email. Online support ranks as the third most popular customer service option.
  • Globally, people find a processing time of 2-3 days acceptable, but in reality, they have to wait 2-3 weeks to get their smartphone repaired.
  • Speed of service, expertise of staff and transparency of process are the three most important factors for customer satisfaction in smartphone service.
  • Only 20% of smartphone owners have insurance, but those who do are highly likely to buy it again. Not surprisingly, smartphone insurance is most popular in countries with the highest smartphone addiction, including Brazil, India and the US. And more than half would like an option for an immediate smartphone replacement.

“When it comes to customer care, most people still prefer to go to a store and talk with a service agent face to face – a complete contradiction in a world where most things happen online,” commented Prof. Dr. Anton Meyer, Head of the Marketing Department, Munich School of Management at the Ludwig-Maximilians University of Munich. “Smartphone brands that understand the value of customer care have a real competitive advantage. There is no better way to differentiate a brand than making customer service a top priority.”

The B2X Smartphone and IoT Consumer Trends 2017 study is based on interviews of more than 2,600 people in Brazil, Germany, India, Russia and the United States conducted by Facit Research in cooperation with Professors Meyer and Hess at the Ludwig-Maximilian University of Munich.