American Marketer

Software and technology

Affluent are early tech adopters: YouGov

October 17, 2019

Social media user Olapic Consumers are moving away from laptops. Image credit: Olapic


Wealthy consumers are able to spend on new technology, and they show a willingness and interest in picking up the latest devices.

According to data from YouGov, the affluent are more apt than the general public to have certain technology. Because of their early adopter status, they have also moved on from older technology and bigger screens in favor of mobile devices.

Affluent adopters
The affluent are migrating towards mobile devices, favoring them over other screens.

Since 2016, affluents report a 21 percent decline in using desktop computers. Laptop use has similarly fallen by 11 percent, while tablet usage is down 9 percent.

Consumers are favoring their smartphones. Image credit: Fred

Furthering the move towards smaller screens, smartwatches have taken off. While only 12 percent of affluents had a smartwatch in 2016, today 20 percent own one, marking an increase of 66 percent.

This is good news for watchmakers.

Rather than rendering classic watches obsolete, technology-focused timepieces have instead opened consumers up to the idea of investing in what they wear on their wrists.

During a panel discussion hosted by the Madison Avenue Business Improvement District on June 11, coinciding with the retail thoroughfare’s Watch Week, speakers talked about how smartwatches and mechanical watches coexist in consumers’ wardrobes. While releases such as the Apple Watch may have hurt sales of fashion timepieces, they have actually been a boon to brands such as Rolex, getting consumers accustomed to wearing and relying on a watch (see story).

Smart homes in particular are a hit with the affluent. Thirty-five percent have some kind of smart speaker, a 35 percent year-over-year growth.

The affluent have also grown their adoption of devices such as smart thermostats by 22 percent.

Aside from buying these technologies for their own homes, 54 percent of affluents say they will actually look for smart features within their next property purchase.

With the addition of more technology into affluents’ homes and on their person all the time, 52 percent are concerned about privacy related to smart devices.

Companies are not keeping up with consumers’ growing appetite for artificially intelligent customer service, with a new report from the Capgemini Research Institute finding that less than half of the top firms in retail, banking and automotive offer voice assistants or chatbots.

Seventy percent of consumers can see a future in the next three years in which they will replace visits to a physical store or bank with voice assistant interaction, indicating a growing preference for technology over human service. While AIs are taking over some customer service experiences, companies will need to deploy a combination of human and bot assistant to meet consumers’ needs (see story).