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Assurant Study Finds Pandemic-Propelled Consumer Interest in Connected Products, Services and Support

Latest ‘Connected Decade’ Survey Tracked Consumer Attitudes Towards Devices, 5G, Upgrades, Support and Repairs

Assurant announced the findings from its latest Connected Decade survey. Now in its fifth year, Assurant’s annual study examines consumer attitudes around the convergence of connected devices and their impact on consumers, business and industry. The pandemic, which has impacted individuals and businesses in different ways across the world, has largely accelerated consumers’ embrace of ‘connected living,’ encouraging many to seek mobile device upgrades, technical support, quick repairs and emerging capabilities like 5G.

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“The pandemic has highlighted the full value of device support and protection”

This year’s research found consumers’ increasing need to remain connected is propelling their desire to protect their connected devices in light of COVID-19 – according to 60 percent of consumers surveyed in January 2021, as compared to 49 percent in June 2020. Other highlights from the survey include:

  • Consumers prefer choice of repair options that are quicker and more convenient. Come-to-you device repair preferences rose 120 percent from 2020 to 2021; preference for same-day specialty repairs saw a 57 percent increase over the same period.
  • Trade-in and upgrade offers can be catalysts for new 5G smartphones purchases. Eight out of ten consumers are highly or somewhat likely to upgrade to a new 5G-enabled smartphone if they had the ability to upgrade their new device in the future without a fee (85 percent) or given a valuable trade-in offer (81 percent) for their current device.
  • Millennials and Generation Xer’s are most likely to upgrade their connected products. Millennials and Gen Xer’s are the most likely to buy a newer version of their connected devices (e.g., smartphones, tablets, laptops, speakers, etc.) when they become available. Seventy-nine percent of Millennials and 77 percent of Generation Xer’s said they are highly or somewhat likely to upgrade to newer models.
  • Consumers are more aware of 5G and likely to upgrade for its capabilities. Only two percent of respondents have not heard of the technology as opposed to 12 percent in 2019. Now, 36 percent of consumers are willing to upgrade for 5G capabilities, up from 25 percent in 2019.

“This year’s results clearly demonstrate the pivotal role connected technology is playing in consumers’ lives, as is the ability to get support and keep their products connected and protected,” said Alan Colberg, Assurant’s CEO. “It is important that connected service and product providers work to match consumers’ evolving needs, especially as consumers place more value on connectivity.”

For all of the benefits and interest around connectivity amid the global pandemic, many consumers also expressed frustrations with their connected devices. In 2021, 46 percent of consumers said they encountered challenges with their connected products, representing a 35 percent increase from 2019. The most common frustrations consumers faced were connecting to a phone or Wi-Fi (22 percent), followed by ‘insufficient troubleshooting self-help’ (18 percent).

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Value-Added Services Drove Purchase Decisions

As consumers used connected products more regularly (50 percent increase since 2019), they also expressed a growing interest in value-added services (VAS), such as tech support, extended warranty and insurance. If offered VAS for their connected products, 70 percent of consumers said they would be more likely to move ahead with the purchase of a connected device they are considering buying, a six percent increase from the previous year.

Of the VAS proposed, the largest increase from 2019 to 2021 was on-demand tech support, which saw a 44 percent jump. Clearly there is a growing need for consumers to get expert guidance with installing, connecting and using their connected purchases. Buying a refurbished device at a reduced price also saw a sizable increase during the health crisis, rising 36 percent.

“The pandemic has highlighted the full value of device support and protection,” said Colberg. “As consumers grow more dependent on connected living, they increasingly are placing a premium on these benefits.”

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