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[Trends 2015] One consumer culture

"72% of those surveyed think we will use our thoughts to control household appliances by 2020!"
All around the world, internet users are increasingly sharing one culture. In the most recent Ericsson Consumer Lab survey of 23 countries, they found that more than three-quarters of consumers browse the internet and half use social media every day.

These are the major consumer trends:

1. The streamed future: Media usage patterns are globalising among consumers and they are shifting towards easy-to-use on-demand services that allow cross-platform access to video content. 2015 will be a historic year, Ericsson predicts, as more streamed content will be watched than broadcast TV.

2. Helpful homes: With continuously rising fixed broadband adoption and the fast global uptake of smartphones with mobile broadband subscriptions, our lives are becoming more connected than ever before. However, despite this connectivity, houses are not increasing in intelligence at the same pace. This is now set to change, as consumers show a strong interest in having their homes help them. 48% of smartphone owners asked were also interested in a bathroom mirror that shows data about how well they have slept, and displays a calendar, news and reminders. 47% would even like their toothbrush to give advice on how to brush effectively.

3. Mind sharing: 72% of those surveyed think we will use our thoughts to control household appliances by 2020... New means of communication will continue to appear, offering us even more ways to stay close to our friends and family. Over a third of consumers are interested in using a smartwatch that conveys touch gestures or their pulse to others. Interestingly, 40% of smartphone users would like to use a wearable device to communicate with others directly through thoughts - and more than two-thirds believe this form of communication will be commonplace by 2020.

[Trends 2015] One consumer culture

4. Smart citizens: 76% of smartphone owners want traffic volume maps for streets, pavements and public areas to report how crowded the area is. 70% want to compare daily household use of gas, electricity and water with their neighbours, and 66% say a smartphone that checks the water quality of public facilities and compares it with similar facilities nearby would be useful. Over 70% think that these concepts will be mainstream by 2020... We are becoming smart citizens. Through our changing behaviours, efficient practices and smarter social norms are developing in our cities, and in the process they are making cities organically grow smarter too.

5. The sharing economy: As the internet enables us to efficiently share information with unprecedented ease, the idea of a sharing economy is potentially huge. It could enable consumers to enjoy the benefits of use without the hassle of ownership in many other areas.

6. The digital purse: Of the smartphone owners we surveyed, 48% say they would prefer to use their phone to pay for goods and services, while a third believe that smartphones should replace cash.

7. My information: 56% of smartphone owners would like all email, chat and other internet communication to be encrypted. Over half agree that using fingerprints would be better than passwords for this.

8. Longer life: Wearable technology has been popular among consumers for some time, but now it is time to shift the emphasis from the novelty of wearing technology to what the advantages may be. Important benefits include the ability to monitor and regulate activities. Urban consumers think wearables regulating stress levels could give them an extra two years of life on average, and wearables that help with physical activity will have the second largest potential impact, with an addition of 1.9 years on average. However, help with monitoring goes beyond wearables: cups and plates that measure the intake of calories, salt and unhealthy ingredients are believed to increase life expectancy by 1.8 years. Pillows and sheets that monitor sleep patterns and medicine jars that regulate medicine intake would potentially add 1.1 years each.

9. Domestic robots: Of those open to the concepts Ericsson tested, 64% thought all of these robot types will be common in households by 2020. With artificial intelligence becoming cloud-based, the cost of making smart robots is set to decrease dramatically, so the next five years could potentially see drastic changes. 57% of consumers wanting a domestic robot to do their laundry

10. Children connect to everything: Children will continue to drive the demand for a more tangible internet, where the physical world is as connected as the screens on their devices. 46% of smartphone owners say that those who are exposed to tablets as babies will expect all objects to be connected when they are older. Using information technology will be less abstract in 2020 and beyond.

Source: Ericsson Consumer Labs. Download the full report, '10 Hot Consumer Trends 2015'.

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