Consumers are using connected devices to enhance their daily lives and well-being while fine-tuning the balance between their virtual and physical worlds.
Our study of consumer technology trends examines how US households are adjusting their use of mobile devices, wearables, and smart home technology as pandemic restrictions begin to ease. With fewer people working and learning from home, the house is less crowded, and many of the acute challenges we noted in 2021 have subsided to a degree. Consumers can now be intentional about which activities to do virtually and which in-person, and they’re reporting that tech-enabled work, school, fitness, and health care—in the right measure—are making their lives better, healthier, and more fulfilling.
Digital life includes a new mix of devices
The vast majority of 5G phone users—92%—said the service meets or exceeds expectations. However, consumers are still not sure what new things 5G enables. Nearly three-quarters want a better understanding of 5G’s functionality, and 30% are disappointed with a perceived lack of innovative apps and services. Two-thirds said they’re interested in premium service bundles that make better use of 5G, which is exciting news for mobile providers and tech companies.
Work from home seems here to stay
Forty-five percent of respondents said one or more household members were working from home at least some of the time. While most of the challenges cited last year have eased, half or more workers say their family relationships and physical or emotional well-being have improved by working from home. And nearly all workers (99%) like aspects of working from home—with lack of commute, comfort, safety from illness, better focus on work, and better family connection topping the list of benefits. Going forward, 75% of remote workers want virtual or hybrid options even after the pandemic winds down.
Telehealth engagement and satisfaction is high
About half of US consumers have attended at least one virtual medical appointment as a patient in the past year, and 26% accompanied someone else to a virtual appointment. The vast majority are satisfied with the experience, and consumers intend to use virtual health care even after the pandemic, depending on the use case. For chronic or ongoing conditions, 45% of respondents are interested in a virtual or hybrid approach. For annual physicals, the number falls to 24%, with most preferring an in-person experience.
Wearables deliver measurable health benefits
Ownership of smartwatches and fitness trackers is inching upward, with consumers using them to track fitness and monitor health, particularly steps, pulse rate, calories, heart health, and sleep. At least seven in 10 said their smartwatches/fitness trackers have improved their fitness and health—with three in 10 saying their devices have made their fitness and health “significantly better.” Device makers have recently made it easier to share health data, and most device owners (55%) said they share the data with their medical providers, either through an app, during in-person visits, by text, or via email.