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The emotional cost of your tech

People think any device they need is too expensive, but the one they want or love? Not so much. That’s an opportunity.

A woman confused about the tech she needs

How much would you pay for that sleek, new Pixel® watch you’ve saved up for all year? Now imagine you need a new dryer because your old one broke down. How much would you pay for one that connects to the internet? 

The answer reveals one of the most interesting findings in Asurion’s 2024 Tech Lifestyle Report, and one that extends to all the groups we analyzed—parents, Boomers, and beyond: Cost is one of the biggest barriers to people adopting new tech. And how people perceive cost varies based on the type of device and the way people feel about owning it.  

Cost rules everything around us

When people buy tech, they mainly act on their feelings and experiences, not brand attributes or features. Our survey found that most people are satisfied with the devices they own. They use them more than they thought they would, and their emotional responses to different types of tech are overwhelmingly positive. 

But when you look at cost, something stands out. Across our five categories, the percentage of people concerned about whether tech is too expensive starts at 19% for personal connectivity devices, rises to 24% for smart home devices, and climbs to 33% for smart appliances. 

The reason? How they make us feel. People tend to buy personal connectivity devices like smart watches or fitness trackers for entertainment and fun, our survey found. They also make the people who use them feel happy; these devices received among the lowest scores for evoking negative emotions. 

Smart home devices and smart appliances evoke different emotions, and we buy them for different reasons. Our survey found that people tend to purchase these devices for safety and security and to upgrade a product.

These aren’t necessarily negative reasons, but they are a bit boring. The key emotions they evoke? They don’t so much make people feel “happy” as they make them feel “in control,” “safe,” and “productive.” Unsurprisingly, these two categories also record the highest negative emotion scores. 

The simple joy of toasty warm socks

So what should tech companies do? Is there a genuine opportunity to alter people’s perception of value beyond making refrigerators sexier and generating buzz around automated garage doors? 

Of course there is. It’s natural for people to think a product is too expensive if they believe they don’t need it. Many of the devices perceived to be the most prohibitively pricey—namely, smart home devices and smart appliances—seem expensive and newfangled if you don’t understand them.  

But that cost barrier can quickly disappear when people realize how tech can make their everyday lives more convenient. That’s why most of our respondents didn’t seem to have an issue with the price of their smartwatches, fitness trackers, and other connected tech.  

The key is for tech companies to find better and more relevant ways to reach people and help them regularly—not just when they buy a device. They need to build trust and offer an experience that evokes more positive emotions.  

One way they can do so is by changing how they offer tech support. When people need help with their devices, they’re vulnerable. They want their tech fixed but also want to feel like they made the right decision for themselves or their families.   

All too often, tech companies treat tech help as something they have to do rather than a way to build loyalty and offer a continuous, positive experience. As more companies recognize the value of human, reliable, and convenient support, they’ll have more opportunities to teach people about tech, help them overcome cost as a barrier, and generate new business. 

Imagine if someone got tech help for their dryer, so they could turn it on before their commute home or even program its start time. Suddenly, a Wi-Fi-connected dryer means the simple joy of toasty warm socks whenever they want. Not so boring, right?  

Want more insights about how people really interact with technology? Check out Asurion's 2024 Tech Lifestyle Report.

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