Consumer brands are always keen to hear what their customers want, especially about potential new products. In the latest edition of the Ovum Digital Consumer Insights Survey, we tested consumers’ appetite in new-device brand-association concepts such as a Netflix TV, an Amazon smartphone, or an Apple car (see Figure 1). The results are fascinating as they clearly expose the potential benefits (or lack thereof) of device strategies for Facebook, Apple, Amazon, Netflix and Google (FAANG). Below are some key highlights:
- Only a quarter of respondents are not interested in 5G. This is a very positive result for 5G considering that in most of the countries surveyed, 5G had not yet been launched. Pricing and device availability will have a fundamental role to play in driving adoption, and Three UK recently announced that it will make 5G accessible to all of its existing and new customers at no extra cost.
- 48% of respondents (and 56% of the 18–25 cohort) are interested in a TV made by Netflix. Despite slowing subscriber growth, Netflix comes on top of our list of branded products. Interestingly, the Netflix app is already available on most TV devices, including pay-TV set-top boxes, so this is not driven by lack of access. Instead, it seems that Netflix customers want a simplified, “purer,” and maybe more customized Netflix experience on their TV. Netflix is also the only FAANG company (along with Apple) that hasn’t been embroiled in data privacy issues as it does not offer ad-supported services. This brings an additional level of trust which could be a key differentiator if Netflix were to launch such a device.
- 41% of respondents are interested in an Amazon smartphone. Amazon did produce a smartphone which it launched the US back in 2014 – the same year as the Echo. Bad pricing, restrained OS capabilities, and unnecessary features were the major drawbacks which led the device to be discontinued a year later. Amazon is in a very different place today with a much stronger hardware positioning and expertise with Echo, Fire TV, and Fire Tablets. According to the same survey, only 9% of consumers chose Alexa as their preferred smartphone voice assistant, as opposed to 41% on smart speakers. The smartphone is a major gap in Alexa’s reach that Amazon must address.
- Almost nobody wants hardware from Facebook. The data privacy debacle is taking its toll on Facebook, with fewer than 26% of respondents interested in a Facebook smart speaker: bad news for Facebook Portal which is due to launch in Europe this autumn. In the UK this number drops even further to only 20%, and Facebook will need to bring back confidence in its European users before it can enter its home market with its own device.
Overall, consumers’ attitude towards new products is very positive as we live in a world where technology is both omnipresent and increasingly useful. But never underestimate the power of brands and associated services because the ultimate goal of a device is to deliver the best experience for those services.
Straight Talk is a weekly briefing from the desk of the Chief Research Officer.
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