Monday, 03 May 2021 11:22

Telsyte's flagship 'Australian Digital Consumer Study' reveals 'a decade of rapid change' Featured


They say a change is as good as a holiday, but despite being a universal constant (and making your pockets very heavy), the last decade saw the most rapid change in our history - with the COVID-19 tinged decade we're currently in set to see change changing at the fastest pace yet.

While many would prefer Grange to change, Telsyte's first study produced after the COVID-19 pandemic showed the decade from 2010 to 2020 "witnessed the most rapid technology change in Australia’s history, with 21.6M smartphones now in use (up from 4.4 million in 2010) and people spending $14.4 billion on digital goods and services in 2020, up from $2.2 billion in 2010, according to new research by emerging technology analyst firm Telsyte."

We're told the Telsyte Australian Digital Consumer Study 2021 is "the first study produced after the COVID-19 pandemic, which catapulted the already accelerating adoption of home and personal technology products and services."

Published annually since 2008, the study has been providing insights and forecasts on the state of technology adoption, digital trends and changing consumer lifestyles as a result of advances in computer and communications technologies.

So, what does Telsyte have to say in its report, which it naturally hopes you'll be interested in purchasing?

A decade of rapid technology change

The study found the promise of a digital nation is on track with the rapid shift to online and digital services, enabled by mobile technologies and faster Internet services.

The number of Internet connected devices in Australian homes grew by almost 6-fold, from less than 35 million in 2010 to 193 million in 2020, and smartphone use – now the centre of our digital lifestyle – increased 390% from 4.4 million in 2010 to 21.6 million in 2020.

Thanks to the NBN and mobile broadband, Internet connectivity has vastly improved over the last decade and, according to the study, 30% of Australian homes are now on a 100Mbps or faster speed plans compared to 78% that were on ADSL plans with average speeds less than 15Mbps. The improved broadband speed plans enabled higher data usage with the average usage increasing by 793% from 28 gigabytes monthly usage in 2010 to 250 gigabytes in 2020.

Online shopping is no longer seen as just a discount channel, especially since the pandemic. The eCommerce market was worth $32.9 billion in 2020, almost triple in value from $11.5 billion in 2010.

The decade also gave rise to new digital goods and services, with the market grew by more than 6-fold from $2.2 billion in 2010 to $14.4 billion in 2020, driven by online entertainment and mobile applications. A standout in recent years has been digital video games, with the segment generating $3.4 billion in revenue in 2020 across digital games and extras, mobile as well games related subscriptions – growing from around $1 billion in 2015.

Interests in video entertainment also saw the number of streaming video on demand (SVOD) subscriptions grow more than 40-fold between 2014 and 2020, reaching more than 16 million services. Three in five (62%) Australian households were using at least one SVOD service at the end of 2020.

COVID-19 pandemic a huge driver for change

The start of the new decade saw a one in 100-year pandemic with the COVID-19 crisis. The pandemic encouraged Australians to adopt new technologies that will help them adapt to the changing environment. The study found 1 in 3 have learnt to use new technologies or online services during the pandemic.

Adoption of digital services was also influenced by the pandemic, with more than 7 million Australians now using online food delivery services and online grocery shopping – up 22% and 35% respectively from 2019. Telsyte estimates both will reach 8 million users by the end of 2021.

While the overall Australian economy was negatively impacted by the pandemic in 2020, the eCommerce market has benefited with more purchases shifting online. The total eCommerce market was worth $32.9 billion in 2020, down 14% from $38.3 billion in 2019; however, if travel and event tickets sales are excluded, the eCommerce market grew by 20% year-on-year.

Telsyte found 42% are now more comfortable shopping online due to COVID-19 lockdown and restrictions and, despite the easing of lock down restrictions in 2021, 55% of Australians are prepared to spend more time at home, a strong driver for the housing and associated technology product markets. Nearly as many (46%) workers say they now prefer to work from home more often going forward.

Telsyte MD, Foad Fadaghi said: “During uncertain times, it was technology and communication services that improved home and work life for most Australians."

As a result of the post-pandemic home centricity, the average number of Internet connected devices in the home is on track to reach over 30 by the end of 2024, up from 19.7 at the end of 2020. Overall, the growth in connected home devices has been nearly 500% since 2010.

Trust and cyber security now a top concern

Trust remained important in the Australian society in 2020, especially during the pandemic when it came to media and government.

Some 1 in 3 Australians remained “Very Concerned” about “Fake News”, with nearly half now always checking the validity of the news source that they see online. The study also found trust in traditional news channels has improved since the pandemic and people are supportive of news outlets being reimbursed by search engines and social media platforms for their content.

Cybersecurity concerns are growing due to the rapid adoption of connected technologies and the shift to digital lifestyles. Nearly 30% of Australians experienced some form of cybercrime in 2020, including account hacks, phishing attempts, ransomware, identity theft, and cyberbullying.

A new decade signals more adoption of emerging tech

The impact of COVID-19 on population growth could continue into the next two years; however, Telsyte believes Australians’ passion for technology will continue to underpin adoption and opportunities for new services, including:

  • Faster Internet connectivity such as gigabit nbn and 5G.
  • More sophisticated AI adopted by services and applications that will help improve processes and provide a better digital experience.
  • Smart speakers likely to remain the enabler for smart home adoption. More than 2.8 million households had a smart speaker at the end of 2020
    and Telsyte estimates the number could grow by more than 50% in next few years.
  • Adoption of entertainment subscription services (including video, pay TV, music and games) is expected to continue to grow with better
  • Internet access and increasing preference of ‘all-you-can-access’ subscriptions. Telsyte forecasts the total number of entertainment
    subscriptions to grow 58% from around 37 million in 2020 to 58 million by 2024.
  • Telsyte also expects the eCommerce market to return to double-digit growth as the pandemic restrictions are further eased and international travel and tourism commences.

Naturally, Telsyte hopes you'll find more than a few coins of change under the couch cushions to buy a subscription to its products and services, which includes its latest, 200-page, comprehensive "Australian Digital Consumer Study 2021."

The report provides subscribers with analyst content and services covering:

  • Adoption and 4-year forecast of personal technologies (e.g. smartphones, smartwatches, tablets, 2-in-1s, computers, smart wristbands, etc)
  • Adoption and 4-year forecast of household technologies (e.g., smart speakers, smart TV, gaming consoles, 3D printers, Chromecast, Apple TV and other set top boxes, etc)
  • Adoption and 4-year forecast of services (e.g., broadband, SVOD, Pay TV, etc)
  • Post PC device preferences and intentions
  • Wearable technology preferences and intentions
  • NBN and broadband
  • Mobile services
  • Digital video, Pay TV, Streaming video, television (including broadcast video on demand)
  • Social media
  • Technology, social and online apps adoption amongst children under 18s
  • Digital services and gig economy
  • Banking and eCommerce trends
  • Interactive games and cloud gaming
  • Consumer cloud and online security
  • AI & automation
  • Digital Government services
  • Attitudes to lifestyle and technology

In preparing this study, Telsyte tells us it used:

  • Telsyte’s annual Digital Consumer survey conducted in December 2020 with a representative sample of 1,060 respondents, 16 years and older.
  • Interviews conducted with executives from service providers, network operators, manufacturers, retailers, financial analysts and channel partners.
  • Financial reports released by service providers, manufacturers and retailers.
  • On-going monitoring of local and global market and vendor trends.

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Alex Zaharov-Reutt

Alex Zaharov-Reutt is iTWire's Technology Editor is one of Australia’s best-known technology journalists and consumer tech experts, Alex has appeared in his capacity as technology expert on all of Australia’s free-to-air and pay TV networks on all the major news and current affairs programs, on commercial and public radio, and technology, lifestyle and reality TV shows. Visit Alex at Twitter here.

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