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IoT is a draw for Asian consumers

News, 23 March 2016

ASIA PACIFIC: Consumers in APAC are more likely to be interested in the idea of digital connectivity and the Internet of Things than those in other countries, according to new research.

A study by media agency Mindshare surveyed 11,000 respondents across 19 markets, exploring their attitudes towards connected devices and products in the home and the services they could perform – such as automatic reordering of products or notifications of expiry dates for perishable foods.

This found that while many people were attracted by the notion of the connected home and car as an extension of their current digital lives, the proportion of respondents in India and China saying they were "very interested" far exceeded the global average and was roughly twice that of respondents in those countries who were only "quite interested".

A similar, if less dramatic, pattern was evident in Malaysia and these three were leading the "connected" charge in Asia. Consumers in developed regional markets such as Japan and Australia were more sceptical towards connected products and more in line with the rest of the world.

The greatest levels of interest globally were in the obvious context of things – home security (84%), music systems (74%), heating/aircon (70%), cars (69%), door locks (65%), washing machine (60%), and refrigerators (59%) – but APAC respondents were also warm to the idea of connected consumables.

So, for example, food (40%), drinks (38%), clothes (36%), shoes (35%), health and beauty products (34%), laundry products (34%), cleaning products (33%), toilets (30%) and mirrors (27%) were all areas of interest to Asian consumers.

This enthusiasm was tempered, however, by anxieties over privacy. Globally, 60% of respondents were "concerned" about companies knowing how, when and how often they used their products, but that figure rose to 63% in South Korea, 67% in China, 75% in Malaysia and 86% in India.

The precise nature of that concern varied. Globally, the principle of privacy was important for 61%, while worries about being a target for more marketing was an issue for 48% and fear of hackers exercised 43%. But only 20% of Chinese consumers said that they wouldn't share data with companies because they "find it creepy" compared with the 38% global average.

Utility and control emerged as vital considerations. Consumers expect to be able to choose which products they interact with and allow access to their data, the study said. And if brands can make use of this data to create useful services then this is a desirable outcome from consumers' perspective.

Data sourced from Mindshare; additional content by Warc staff