I was behind the mirror for a few consumer focus groups Gartner held recently. We asked consumers in six cities about how they use technology, attitudes about consumer electronics, and what influences their purchase decisions the most. The focus groups highlight how differently consumers think about mobile, video and social media than marketing directors, product managers and industry analysts. Focus groups are fantastic for us to step away from the tech-centric world to hear what matters to end users. It’s exciting to hear insights about consumer usage trends straight from the end users themselves.
For example, in cities where smartphones usage among focus group participants was high, consumers commented that smartphones have changed the way they watch TV and reduced the time they spend using their PCs. Smartphones are the connected device that is most convenient to carry around, even around the house. Participants multi-tasked on their smartphones while “watching” TV, by doing on-line social networking or browsing the internet. Because smartphones are at hand, participants cited various ways that they use them when they have a few extra minutes or at the moment they think of an online task they should do. They don’t have to wait to get home to check a bank account or watch videos. Key consumer trends are to use mobile devices more and PCs less and to multi-task across multiple screens.
Marketing organizations use the data from consumer surveys and focus groups to guide their messaging, for product development, and to request budget. The quotes, sound bites and video clips from focus groups help build a convincing case when communicating consumer attitudes to executives across the enterprise. Gartner will have published 20 reports this year about consumer attitudes from our primary research. Topics span how to influence late adopters, preferences for customer service, and what devices consumers want to carry with them. I have links to a couple of my reports below:
Access to these reports depends on your Gartner subscription.
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