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Consumers set to embrace new online services

Consumers will not only continue to manage routine activities online, but will also add an average of 2.5 new services online post-pandemic, according to a new Ericsson study

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Consumers will not only continue to manage routine activities– such as remote work, e-learning, e-health and online grocery shopping – online, but will also add an average of 2.5 new services online post-pandemic, according to a new report from Ericsson’s ConsumerLab.

The report, entitled The Future Urban Reality, was conducted globally to represent the opinions of 2.3 billion consumers across 31 markets, including South Africa. It predicts that consumers will prioritise their leisure time to travel more, practice mindful living and spend time with friends and family.

The move to handling essential elements of everyday life online, prompted by the global Covid-19 pandemic, will remain a fundamental reality for people around the world long after the pandemic has passed, found Ericsson’s largest consumer study to date. It reveals key insights about what consumers believe will happen beyond the pandemic to the year 2025.

Representing the equivalent opinions of 2.3 billion consumers across 31 markets worldwide, the report predicts that consumers will spend, on average, an extra ten hours per week online when they enter the “next normal”. This move is also expected to close the gap between moderate and advanced online users, with the more moderate online users having introduced more online services in their daily life over the course of the pandemic.

Zeynep Ahmet, senior researcher at ConsumerLab, Ericsson Research, says: “Throughout the pandemic, information and communication technologies (ICT) have become the key means for consumers to manage many aspects in their everyday lives. Our latest findings suggest that this will continue well into the ‘next normal’ and beyond. This trend can support consumers to prioritise more of the important things in life, whether that is spending more time with loved ones or leading a healthier lifestyle. As an enabler of new online habits, both mobile networks and digital inclusion efforts will play a crucial role in building tomorrow’s resilient, inclusive and equal societies.”

Key findings from the report:

1.     Anything routine will happen online by 2025.

One in two consumers expect to use e-learning for upskilling. More than half of consumers globally believe all their entertainment activities will be online. More than one-third of consumers will order their groceries mainly online going forward

2.     64% of consumers expect heightened stress-levels within society.

More than three-in-five consumers believe that it will be necessary to juggle multiple jobs to maintain a decent income. At the same time, seven-in-ten consumers expect to lead healthier lives.

3.     Convenience will come at the cost of privacy.

While 75% of consumers predict that life will be steered by convenience in 2025, seven-in-ten also expect to pay more attention to their online security and privacy.

4.     Local shopping will lead the way.

Driven partly by environmental concerns, half of consumers globally expect to shop for more locally made products and produce as a new future norm.

5.     Half of consumers express a concern for climate change, yet 67% are looking to increase their leisure travel going forward.

While most consumers believe that more sustainable travel options should be made accessible, only one in three indicate that they will refrain from flying when traveling for leisure in the future.

6.     Time spent online will increase by an average of 10 hours per week by 2025.

The dependence on online platforms is expected to continue beyond the pandemic, with consumers predicting that they will add 2.5 more services on average to their daily online activities by 2025. This reiterates the importance of digital inclusion in ensuring an equal and resilient ‘next normal.’

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