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Tech Adoption in Rural America: Late Bloomers with a Growing Appetite

The digital revolution is sweeping across rural America, bringing with it a wave of opportunities for businesses.

A rural landscape with scattered homes featuring an illustration of Internet and connected tech expansion

As the digital frontier expands, rural America is catching up. Broadband access is on the rise, opening doors to a world of tech-enabled products and services. Yet even as the broadband gap narrows, digital literacy remains a challenge in many rural communities, with just 28% of rural Americans self-identifying as tech savvy, according to Asurion’s 2024 Tech Lifestyle Report. While broadband Internet adoption has peaked among urban and suburban populations, rural America is still a growing market – and access to tech support is the next critical piece to truly closing the digital divide. Read on to learn about the opportunity this creates for businesses, from tech manufacturers to property & casualty companies. 

Tech adoption – what they’re buying and why

Per Asurion’s report, rural Americans own fewer overall devices than their urban and suburban counterparts, and they’re later to adopt new technologies – 29% are the “very last” or “among the last” to adopt new technology. This isn’t surprising, considering many communities have only recently gained infrastructure to support connectivity. 

Don’t count them out just yet, though. Rural consumers buy smartphones, tablets, smart TVs and computers on par with urban and suburban consumers, and we expect the number of household devices will only continue to grow. (After all, late adoption is still adoption.) 

One key difference between early adopters and late ones: the need for tech help. Early adopters tend to be tech-confident – and when they do need help, they know where to find it. Later adopters are more likely to need tech support, and rural consumers in particular are less likely to turn to Google™ , YouTube™ and other channels for tech help. They’re also more likely to talk themselves out of purchasing new tech out of fear they won’t know how to use it or that it will be too complicated (not to mention concerns that it will break).

When they do buy tech, home is where the heart is. Nearly two-thirds of rural consumers feel that tech gives them more peace of mind at home, and 44% cite keeping their homes and loved ones safe as their top reason for purchasing new devices.

Tech help – where consumer need meets business opportunity

Rising tech use in rural America represents a valuable opportunity for businesses already serving these communities to become even more integral to their customers’ lives. With the emphasis on tech as a means to protect the home, businesses ranging from security systems to homeowners insurance are especially well positioned to offer tech protection and support programs as a complimentary service that increases customer engagement by meeting a real, everyday need. Asurion partners with businesses to launch and scale successful connected home programs that help foster loyalty, drive revenue and power future growth. 

By helping rural consumers embrace technology in a way that makes them feel seen and supported, businesses can earn trust and become the go-to resource for nearly every device in the home. While rural consumers have a unique relationship with technology, they’re not alone in their need for tech help. Nearly two-thirds of Americans don’t feel totally proficient with tech, marking the significant value of connected home protection and support programs for both businesses and consumers.

*The Asurion® trademarks and logos are the property of Asurion, LLC. All rights reserved. All other trademarks are the property of their respective owners. Asurion is not affiliated with, sponsored by, or endorsed by any of the respective owners of the other trademarks appearing herein.*

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