Rise in consumer ‘backlash’ against Internet of Things technology

There has been a 14 per cent rise in the number of consumers pushing back against the growing amount of technology in their lives, according to a recent survey.

Against the backdrop of the Internet of Things (IoT), around half (47 per cent) of UK consumers said they didn’t need any more technology in their lives. Six months ago only 33 per cent said the same.

However this figure could be driven by the increasing awareness of the IoT over the same period, with the proportion of respondents who have never heard of it decreasing by 15 per cent.

The survey, commissioned by Toluna, questioned a representative sample of 1,000 UK consumers in March 2015 as a follow up to a similar study conducted in September 2015.

35 per cent dread having to learn to use another new technology (up 10 per cent since September), while 45 per cent see the IoT as another technology that can go wrong (similarly, up nine per cent).

Security proved to be the greatest concern for 67 per cent, followed by reliability (62 per cent) and behavioural issues such as distracted drivers (47 per cent).

Frédéric-Charles Petit, chief executive of Toluna noted that despite an increasing proportion of consumers claiming not to want any more technology in their lives, there are specific areas in which consumers feel the IoT may prove useful.

“While our research reveals that consumers are somewhat sceptical about this new evolutionary era of technology, this uncertainty will likely wane once we see how connected devices – such as smart medicine bottles and wearable activity trackers – revolutionise our lives for the better,” he added.

In fact, 39 per cent were positive about the prospect of more connectivity around healthcare (up 10 per cent), fitness (up seven points to 28 per cent), home appliances (up six points to 47 per cent) and connected cars (also up six points to 36 per cent).