NEW YORK: Only one in five consumers using a new digital device is able to do so without experiencing any problems, according to a new study which suggests that tech brands are not focused enough on the entire customer experience.

A report from consulting firm Accenture – Engaging the Digital Consumer in the New Connected World – surveyed 24,000 consumers in 24 countries and found that 83% had run into difficulties when they first used new device types such as wearable fitness monitors, smart watches, smart home thermostats, in-vehicle entertainment systems, home connected surveillance cameras and security systems, and wearable health products.

Some 21% said they found the devices "too complicated to use", while 19% reported that the "set-up did not proceed properly" and the same proportion simply said the products "did not work as advertised".

"High tech companies need to go back to the drawing board and rethink their product development approaches to focus on the entire customer experience," said Sami Luukkonen, managing director for Accenture's Electronics and High Tech group.

"They should make fundamental strategic changes that no longer focus on product feature differentiation but rather holistic, digital experience differentiation."

That's not to say that product features and functions aren't significant – 29% of respondents said they were – but ease of use ranked higher in consumer priorities, with 33% of users across all age groups and geographies saying this was most important.

Brand trust was another influencing factor, cited by 21% of those surveyed. This was especially true in the smartphone category where almost half (49%) gave their primary reason for purchase consideration as "I like this brand".

And one third (32%) indicated that they already owned a device from the same brand or that they liked "the design, look and feel of the device."

But, Accenture reported, the smartphone was among those devices where purchase intentions are trending downwards in 2015.

"As consumers' purchasing plans decline for mature device categories, high tech companies need to replace lost revenues with sales in new categories such as wearable health and fitness monitors," said Luukkonen.

The report found that while purchase intent for these products was modest over the next year, it leapt ahead when looking further out. 

Just 12% of respondents planned on buying a wearable fitness in the next 12 months but 41% thought they would do so within five years. Wearable heads-up display glasses were set to attract the interest of 35% during the same period.

Data sourced from BusinessWire; Accenture; additional; content by Warc staff