A September 2017 survey of young adult internet users in select countries painted an interesting—and yet unsurprising—picture of their typical day-to-day interactions.
The study from LivePerson, a provider of cloud-based mobile and online business messaging solutions, surveyed 4,013 internet users ages 18 to 34 in six countries: Australia, Germany, France, Japan, the UK and the US.
In the US and the UK, nearly three-quarters of respondents said they were more likely to communicate digitally—whether via email, SMS or social media—rather than in person.
Similar results were seen in Australia and France, where at least 61.0% of respondents said they communicate digitally as opposed to in person.
In Germany, however, the outcome was nearly split. While 49.9% of respondents said they communicate more digitally, 50.1% said they interact more with a person face to face.
Perhaps these digital interactions stem from people’s obsessions with their devices. The study also asked respondents how they interact with their mobile device on a regular basis. Roughly seven in 10 said they sleep within arm’s reach of it, while nearly two-thirds said they bring it to the bathroom. And over half said that if they woke up in the middle of the night, they would check their device.
And it’s not just millennials who are obsessed with their gadget. Younger users, specifically teens, are as well. A Q4 2016 survey of teen internet users worldwide from GlobalWebIndex found that on a typical day, this group spends 3 hours, 38 minutes surfing the web via their smartphones.
MARTIN DE RUYTER
Simon Duffy showcasing the “virtual walkthrough” component of Uniquely Nelson’s new look website.
Browsing Nelson shops from home or work (or anywhere in between) has become a reality, virtually.
Nearly 170 central city retailers have opened their doors to virtual reality shoppers as part of the revamped website of Uniquely Nelson, the council-funded body charged with promoting the CBD.
Visitors to uniquelynelson.co.nz can now “walk into” 168 shops and businesses to see what’s on offer.
The “virtual walkthrough” of the city centre allows visitors to peruse the CBD’s streets, and click on bubbles called “hotspots” which take them into stores, or establishments like the Suter Art Gallery, or information centre.
Some of the hotspots would play videos and offer information about products and services, Uniquely Nelson manager Simon Duffy said.
He described the development as technology-enhanced window shopping, that had proved very successful in America.
“It increases your foot traffic by between 40 and 50 per cent,” research from the United States showed, he said.
“Virtual reality is new in American retail, we’ll be the first city or town to launch it in New Zealand.”
The organisation had spent the last two months capturing images for the virtual reality enhancement of its website, and said businesses paid a small charge for the service.
Eight hundred businesses are on the database, with about two thirds of those in retail and hospitality.
The virtual reality component of the website was part of measures designed to help central city retailers work together, Duffy said.
“We can’t be competing with each other here because the real competition is coming from outside,” he said, referring to online retailers like Amazon.
Nelson city centre retailers should embrace the technology, he suggested, and use it to their own advantage collectively.
“There’s a certain flavour to Nelson. We’re kind of left-field, we’ve got the markets, we’ve got the outdoors, there’s a kind of sunny, funky feel to Nelson.”
But he said Nelson retailers could struggle in winter.
“For the retailers, as we look forward to the future, it’s to really push out as being one.”
The new look website was launched alongside the official Nelson City Guide and a new newsletter.
Meanwhile, Uniquely Nelson says its followers on Facebook have tripled over 18 months to over 3,000.
Price is still the top factor
According to a Q2 2017 study by TiVo, more than 85% of cord-cutters said that pay TV services were too expensive, and that cost was one of the main reasons they chose to cancel their cable or satellite service.
In fact, a higher percentage of those surveyed named price as a factor than said the same in Q1.
Aside from price, many respondents also said they cancelled their pay TV service because they’re using an internet streaming service like Netflix, Hulu or Amazon Video.
User behaviors more conducive to subscription video-on-demand (SVOD) services, like binge-watching, also reflect the decline of cable—as does these services’ original content. Indeed, 7.5% of cord-cutters said they cancelled their pay TV subscription because the bulk of their TV viewing consists of original content on streaming services, like Netflix’s “Orange Is the New Black.”
And when asked about the features that attract them to Netflix, over half said price plays a key role in why they use the service.
By and large, consumers are gradually shifting to digital video subscriptions and away from pay TV services.
This year, 176.4 million US adult internet users will stream or download video content at least once a month, eMarketer estimates. That number is expected to increase to 190.2 million by the end of 2020.
Mobile and digital currency systems are set to overtake credit and debit card payments by 2019. Photo / 123RF
Online, mobile and digital currency payment systems are set to overtake credit and debit cards as the most popular ways to pay in e-commerce worldwide by 2019, a report by a United Nations body on international trade and development said.
The share of credit and debit cards in global payments is expected to drop to 46 per cent by 2019 from 51 per cent three years ago, the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) said in its “Information Economy Report 2017: Digitalisation, Trade and Development“, citing figures from payment processing company Worldpay.
So-called e-wallet systems like Alipay, run by Alibaba affiliate Ant Financial, and Tenpay, run by Alibaba rival Tencent, as well as the US-based PayPal service have spread rapidly, driven by the explosive growth of e-commerce.
In China alone, the size of the mobile payment market had reached 23 trillion yuan (US$3.5 trillion) by the end of the second quarter, up 22.5 per cent from the previous quarter, according to Analysys International, an internet research firm.
Alipay recently signed up coffee chain Starbucks to allow e-payment at all 2,800 Starbucks locations in China, while at a KFC fast food restaurant in China, diners can pay via Alipay using facial recognition technology.
The UNCTAD report said that in developed regions, digital payments are dominated by credit and debit cards, followed by e-wallets. But in some developing countries, where credit cards are rarely the most important payment method, new online and mobile payment methods are catching on.
It noted that in China, the preferred payment method for business to consumer e-commerce was Alipay, which is used by 68 per cent of all online shoppers in the country, while in Kenya, mobile money, or accessing financial services via a mobile phone, is more common than credit cards for e-commerce, although cash on delivery remains the main method.
For cross-border purchases, e-wallets appear to be “particularly popular” as a method of payment, the UNCTAD said.
Other surveys have noted the rise of e-payment systems.
In 2016, the International Post Corporation, an association of 24 national postal services, said that 41 per cent of e-commerce shoppers across 26 countries used e-wallets, while 33 per cent used credit cards and 18 per cent used debit cards or bank transfers.
Looking into the future, UNCTAD said that payment systems based on distributed ledger technologies such as blockchain are likely to be more widely used.
“This technology can make online payments safe, and being peer-to-peer, it is less expensive than intermediated payment platforms,” the report said.
“While few internet users currently prefer this method of payment, it is gradually being adopted as it improves security, accelerates settlement, reduces the size of the minimum viable transaction and executes digitised versions of traditional contracts (so-called smart contracts).”
The properties of blockchain technology enable smaller cross-border transactions, including remittances, which would otherwise not be made due to high fixed costs or a lack of trust among parties, the report added.
Apple’s Face ID is riding a wave of security technology offered by manufacturers
This week Apple unveiled a facial recognition feature called Face ID to be included on its high-end iPhone X. The company explained that the device uses a combination of light projection and an infrared camera to create a 3-D map of a user’s face.
Apple has used biometrics on its devices since 2013, when it announced the iPhone 5s would include a fingerprint scanner to support its then-new Touch ID security protocol.
But Apple is actually a bit late to the game with Face ID. Rival manufacturer Samsung’s flagship Galaxy S8—which was released in the US in April—includes facial and iris recognition technology, along with a fingerprint scanner, something noticeably absent from the iPhone X.
The announcement sparked more than a few responses that raised some potential security pitfalls of Apple’s facial recognition technology. Unfortunately for those wary of the supposed infallibility of biometrics, there’s some bad news.
New research from Acuity Market Intelligence found that biometric technology will soon be ubiquitous on smartphones. The firm projects that nearly two-thirds of smartphones shipped worldwide this year will feature some sort of biometric capability. But it also estimates that by 2019, all smartphones worldwide will ship with biometric technology embedded in them.
Fingerprint scanners are now a commonplace feature on Android devices, where the technology has migrated downmarket from flagship devices to midtier offerings. In fact, Acuity Market Intelligence kept track of smartphone models that offered biometrics, but gave up on the practice in January 2017 after the number topped 500.
Wearables and tablets will be slower to adopt biometric technology, however. Acuity Market Intelligence estimates that just 41.2% of tablets will have biometric capabilities this year, while 54.5% of wearables will host the technology.
But the research firm expects biometric technology will become ubiquitous on those devices by 2020.
In many cases consumers leery of using biometrics to unlock their devices can opt out of the feature by relying on a pin code or some other security protocol. And there’s some data to suggest that a sizable number of smartphone users might do just that.
A recent survey from online payments firm Paysafe found that 40% of respondents in the US, UK and Canada thought biometrics were too risky to be used to process payments. Another 24% were uncomfortable with biometrics, but expected some merchants would compel their use.