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Digital service providers warned of consumer 'apathy'

Feb 13
Tags: Ernst & Young LLP
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Digital service providers warned of consumer...

Providers of digital products and services need to be cautious of overwhelming consumers with the sheer range of choice available, according to EY.

The professional services firm released a report warning that the "digital deluge" is overwhelming many UK households, with frustration and disengagement "turning to apathy".

A survey of 2,500 consumers showed that half (50%) of respondents agreed there is now too much choice when it comes to broadband bundles, up from 43% in 2017 and 46% in 2018.

Perhaps surprisingly, a higher-than-average proportion of 25 to 34 year-olds (58%) felt there were too many broadband products on the market.

Other findings showed that more than six out of ten members of this younger age group (61%) are now actively seeking time away from their smartphones and internet-enabled devices.

Almost half (49%) of all respondents said they were looking for more "digital downtime", up from 43% in 2018.

Discussing the emerging trend of "digital apathy", Adrian Baschnonga, global lead telecommunications analyst at EY, said some companies might not be overly troubled by this consumer outlook, since "an inert customer is better than no customer".

However, he warned that relying on consumer disengagement can be a risky strategy.

"The need to reignite customer relationships has never been more important," Mr Baschnonga said.

"Engaged customers are more likely to tell providers what they want and in turn will be open to spending more on a better experience. Ultimately, if service providers don't act now, they seriously limit themselves on opportunities to up-sell new services."

The research also provided insights into consumer interest in 5G - the latest generation of wireless technology that is being widely promoted in the telecoms sector at the moment.

Less than a third (32%) of consumers showed an interest in upgrading to 5G packages and only four in ten households are aware of the benefits of this innovation.

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