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10 consumer trends in 2016: smartphone fad gives way to AI

2015/12/19 17:02:40

Taipei, Dec. 19 (CNA) With the rise of artificial intelligence (AI), a recent survey released by Ericsson ConsumerLab revealed that smartphones are no longer expected to serve as the most important object in the lives of consumers.

According to the survey, which represented 1.1 billion consumers across 24 countries, sales of smartphones and tablet computers topped PC sales in 2011, marking a new phase in the so-called "screen age" that began in the 1950s, when TV became widely available.

"But constantly having a screen in the palm of your hand is not always a practical solution. After 60 years in the screen age, 1 in 2 smartphones users now thinks that smartphones will be a thing of the past, and that this will happen in just 5 years," the survey indicated.

Ericsson ConsumerLab said that many consumers in the survey believed that they will be able to communicate with household appliances with an AI interface.

The diminishing importance of smartphones in a rising AI era is one of the 10 hot consumer trends the survey predicted for 2016. The survey even forecast that the AI technology will end the screen age.

It was the fifth consecutive year for Ericsson ConsumerLab to conduct such a survey. The latest survey said that almost all consumer trends involve the Internet "since many aspects of our physical lives are merging with our online habits: shopping, working, socializing, watching TV, studying, traveling, listening to music, eating and exercising are just a few examples."

The Hot Trend No. 1 -- The Network Lifestyle Network Effect

Network has changed many consumers' lifestyle, the survey said, adding with more and more consumers have gained access to the Internet, 80 percent of the polled consumers have felt the effects of networking.

The Hot Trend No. 2: Streaming Natives

The new generation is growing up with their own native behavior in the Internet age, Ericsson ConsumerLab said. It said that YouTube is very popular among the young generation, and 20 percent of 16-19 year olds even spend more than three hours a day, watching the video sharing website.

The Hot Trend No. 3: AI ends the screen age

The 60-year-long age of the screen finally gives way to a world in which artificial intelligence enables people to interact with objects without the use of a screen.

The Hot Trend No. 4: Virtual gets real

Virtual reality is a popular idea to many consumers. Of consumers polled, 44 percent even wanted to print their own food or nutritional supplements through 3D printing technology, the survey said.

The Hot Trend No.5: Sensing Homes

The survey showed that about 55 percent of smartphone users believe that their own homes will have embedded sensors in five years and the sensing technology will be able to look for construction errors, mold buildup, water leaks and electricity issues.

The Hot Trend No. 6: Smart commuters

Many consumers want to use their time spent to be productive, the survey said, so 86 percent of them said that they would like to use personalized commuting services as long as such a technology is available.

The Hot Trend No. 7: Emergency Chat

When accidents occur, more and more consumers use social media to communicate with others rather making an emergency call, The survey said. It added that about 60 percent of the polled consumers are interested in emergency chat apps.

The Hot Trend No. 8: Internables.

The survey said that 8 out of 10 smartphone owners would like to strengthen their sensory perceptions and cognitive capabilities with the assistance of technology, in particular in vision, memory and hearing.

The Hot Trend No. 9: Everything gets hacked.

The Internet has a massive and instantaneous global reach, the survey said, but that also means unfortunately that many consumers are becoming vulnerable to hacking, the survey said.

The Hot Trend No.10: Netizen journalism.

The survey said that more and more consumers are happy to share information with others through the Internet, and such a move they thought would boost their influence in society.

(By Esme Jiang and Frances Huang)
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