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The real reason parents buy tech for their kids

Parents buy tech because of how it makes them feel—not because of newfangled features and functionality.

A man, a woman, and two children with their tech

Parents are among tech’s true early adopters. They own more devices than people without kids, adopt new tech more quickly, and want these devices to make their lives more convenient.

But the reasons behind these trends have little to do with features or functionality. Most parents aren’t very tech-savvy, and most are driven by emotion. That’s among the most significant findings in Asurion’s 2024 Tech Lifestyle Report, our annual survey that dives into how people use technology today. And within that finding lies a way for tech companies to better understand their customers and improve their relationships with them. 

How tech makes us feel

Our survey found that the highest percentage of parents—44%—said they buy tech for “entertainment and fun.” The second highest percentage—29%— said they do so because these gadgets are “cool, new, and exciting.” Even in the home office category, “entertainment and fun” still edges out “to support work and livelihood” as the top driver. 

The takeaway, which follows a large body of research on economic decisions, is that when parents evaluate tech for their kids, they primarily use personal feelings and experiences rather than brand attributes, features, and facts to make their decisions. They may buy a Nintendo Switch® for their children because they feel playing nostalgic games with characters like Mario would be an excellent way for them to bond on vacation. But they won't likely make their decisions based on the console's controllers or software.

A lack of tech-savvy

Despite parents' emotional connection with the devices they buy, our survey found that the majority (60%) say they don't feel comfortable with tech. And more than half (54%) of this uncomfortable majority say they make most of the tech decisions in their household.

This lack of tech savvy is a serious problem for tech companies—but also an opportunity for them to build closer, stronger, and more helpful relationships with their customers. There are three main ways they can do so: 

Education. There’s a lot people don’t know about their devices, and companies that offer personalized and relevant tutorials about them can earn customer loyalty. 

Support. Investing in human, reliable, and convenient tech help is crucial for reinforcing people's emotional connection with their devices, especially if they don’t know how to use them.

Sales. The upside of offering support and education is you earn trust—and the opportunity to sell. If all goes well, companies build brand loyalty over time and reinforce the positive emotions that drove customers to buy tech in the first place.

Brand loyalty and better business

Sounds simple, right? In practice, of course, it’s hard. When people reach out for tech help, they want their problem solved. They also want reassurance from someone who can make them feel good about their decisions.

For years, tech companies have treated support as an obligation, not an opportunity. That’s changing. Companies that recognize the emotional importance people place on their tech and invest in their relationships with customers—not only when they buy something new but afterward—will develop brand loyalty and generate better business in the future.

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

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