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Part 4: Human hurdles

Exploring people’s concerns about
buying and using technology.

What’s stopping people from adopting tech?

Devices ranked highest concerning security and privacy. 23% vs 19%

Data security and privacy
Think your smart speaker is listening to you? You’re not alone. Respondents viewed data security and privacy as a significant concern for smart speakers, voice assistants, and smart home security devices. These issues also came up for phones and laptops.

Devices ranked highest for potential breaks. Refrigerator 14%. Washery/dryer 15%. Oven/stove 14%. Dishwasher 13%.

The threat of broken tech
People worry about the potential threat of their tech breaking and the subsequent need for repairs. They had this concern mostly for phones (17%), but also more for smart appliances—like fridges and washers—than for any other smart device.

Devices ranked highest for their out-of-pocket costs. 33% vs 31%

Expensive devices
Cost is a common gripe across the board. However, it’s the nice-to-have items (smart TVs and home theater equipment) along with the newer technologies (home security and smart appliances) that people seem most worried about.

Woman on the phone while the tv is showing static

Women see things differently

And that’s in life and in tech—specifically the value of tech. But while the margins between women and men look slim, they're significant:

  • Women are more likely than men to think personal connectivity tech is too complicated (9% vs. 6%).

  • Women are also more likely to not need an entertainment system (39% vs. 36%). Men are more likely to worry it’ll go out of date (10% vs. 8%), break, or need repair (8% vs. 5%).

  • The cost of smart appliances worries women (35% vs. 31%). Men aren't even interested in them (22% vs. 19%).

Couple looks at laptop

Could you live without tech?

The top barrier to people buying and using new tech for the five categories is “I don’t need it.” These groups tend to agree:

  • Boomers are far more likely than the three other generations to say they don’t need a device.

  • Rural consumers are more likely than urban ones to say they don’t need technology (but they’re probably right).