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514 09 10-best_buy_connected


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514 09 10-best_buy_connected

  1. 1. OUR WORLD CONNECTED OUR WORLD, CONNECTED A study on consumer behavior and the emergence of new social connections from Best Buy Co., Inc.
  2. 2. CONTENTS Executive Perspective Brian Dunn, CEO, Best Buy Co., Inc. Introduction Re-Defining Connection The Shi ing Tech Universe: Consumers at the Center of Consumer Electronics Promise of the Connected World Top 10 Gi /Gadget Trends For Holiday 2010 Connection Conundrum Our World, Connected: New Social Connections from Best Buy 1
  3. 3. EXECUTIVE PERSPECTIVE The current dynamics of the consumer technology industry are fundamentally and rapidly changing as innovation is driven by consumers themselves. Basic human needs for comfort, connection, variety and uniqueness now drive society’s desire for a truly connected world. With few exceptions, the consumer technology industry continues to seek ways to fully understand and satisfy this growing demand. New research commissioned by Best Buy and conducted by e-Rewards reveals that people believe in the notion of the connected world. They have taken what they’ve experienced over the past two decades (since technology began to be ubiquitous in our lives) and on their own have redefined what ”being connected” means. In the process, they have naturally grown dissatisfied with some consumer technologies that actually inhibit their ability to live in a truly connected world. This has led them to become more knowledgeable, more vocal, and more involved in how and what the industry produces. In other words, people have, through the sheer force of their mounting interest in and reliance on ge ing and staying connected, moved to the center of the consumer electronics world. People remain, to varying degrees, skeptical about the technology that in so many ways powers our lives. Even as they acknowledge the great promise of technology, they recognize its limitations. They remain bewildered by the number of options, the lack of compatibility, the absence of customer service, and the challenge of new product innovations and introductions. As Robert Stephens, currently our Chief Technology Officer and founder of Geek Squad, has observed, “what’s going to happen and how technology is going to change our lives during the next 10 years is going to make the last 50 look like we were at a standstill.” Human ingenuity, dynamism and entrepreneurship have brought us to where we are today. We are excited to be a part of where we go tomorrow – and over the next decade. This study is the start of that journey. Brian Dunn, CEO, Best Buy Co., Inc 2
  4. 4. INTRODUCTION Consumer technology today is driven by More important, people have awakened to the human desire, not devices. possibilities technology presents and decided they like what they see. In fact, new research commissioned by Devices, a er all, merely beep and blink. But desire Best Buy and conducted by e-Rewards1 shows that not ignites dreams. Desire energizes our imaginations. only do a majority of people rely on technology in their Desire inspires experience. And perhaps most everyday life (including more than 70 percent of those important, desire arouses expectations. age 18-24 and almost half of those 55 and older) but Increasingly, we look to consumer technology not as a that overall almost 85 percent are optimistic about the collection of devices but as a way to help us match our experiences technology products and services enable. reality to our desires, to help us meet our expectations. The interest and joy people feel is encouraging them to % become an integral part of what’s coming next in order to both experience and humanize technology. As technology blogger Jonathan Harris noted in an August 2010 post, “Instead of fleeing to the forest, we must find the humanity in the machine and learn to love 85% of consumers say they are it. If we decide the humanity does not yet exist there in optimistic about the experiences the ways we expect, then we must create it.” that technology products and Today people are recognizing that the only way they services enable can humanize their relationship with technology and stay connected to the people, information, ideas, entertainment, services and media they care about While in the past, as the technological revolution most, is to be smack dab in the center of the consumer unfolded, we may have looked to technology to show technology universe. us what we could do, today we look to technology to help us do what we want to do. To be there, in the center, to generate new ways of ... This has triggered a fundamental shi in our ... being ... acquiring … connecting relationship with technology. People have ... communicating ... seeing ...doing moved from passive users of devices ... experiencing ... creating ... loving to active drivers of technology and ... gathering ... sharing ... learning ... innovation. So while consumer competing technology companies may still ... protesting ... reacting ... inventing create, manufacture and sell devices, it is people who have reassessed In other words, to be there, in the center, not their relationship to what happens on just as a part but the most important part of the assembly line – declaring through the thrilling evolution in how, why, where, and their actions, opinions, behaviors, and when we connect with one another. It is a bold, new a itudes that they are no longer willing to be enslaved partnership that is not merely refining the relationship by technology. Instead, they want to use technology to between people and the consumer technology industry, connect with people and ideas, to mesh their lives but redefining it, based on ... with their desires and expectations. ... mutual participation ... mutual inspiration ... mutual satisfaction. 3
  5. 5. People want to participate, co-create, curate and functions on those devices people are actually using. collaborate by engaging in the development of And when they use them. And how they use them. And consumer technology. An August 2010 Forrester why they use them. And where they use them. report2 notes that more than six out of 10 (61 percent) online adults want to co-create alongside the industry, And, in turn, they are le ing information suggesting that industry professionals, “should feel drive innovation. comfortable proceeding with co-creation strategies, as chances are good that there are engaged, This reconstituted relationship between people and interested consumers who are willing to help consumer technology – this partnership that moves improve your product.” people to the center – is unleashing unprecedented ingenuity in people and in the consumer technology This is a new phenomenon, the rapid development of industry. which has taken many people and, significantly, the consumer electronics industry, by surprise. It’s as if People today are connecting with more people there’s been a collective “a-ha moment” in which people and more ideas more o en and in more ways for realized they no longer had to accept, lemming-like, more reasons than ever before possible. Consumer what industry offers and, simultaneously, industry technology has given people the means by which acknowledged that what it delivers may not they can fulfill their dreams and exceed their automatically be embraced. expectations. At the same time, it has inspired people to dream even bigger It’s not that people are necessarily in What’s happening now is and expect even more. the labs or doing market research nothing less than a seismic shi in or writing code. But by their the human experience, literally a new and Our World, Connected delivers behavior and by their sharing, up-to-the-minute insight and permanent way of being based on a new they are continually making it data that suggests this new and empowering relationship with technology known to anyone or anything relationship between people and -one unimpeded by economic ups and downs that will listen what ma ers consumer technology – what most to them, what doesn’t and political winds of change. drives it, what it means, what it ma er at all, what direction -Brian Dunn, CEO, Best Buy Co., Inc promises, what risks it introduces, their concerns are moving, and and what barriers still need to be what new options they want explored overcome – offers extraordinary and addressed. opportunities for industry, the media, and others to innovate, create, and In some cases, of course, technology users prosper as never before. actually are doing the creating. Some of today’s most socially altering tech advances were first developed We are living in truly momentous times. % by everyday people (despite their later status as visionaries and billionaires) who had a hunch about what people might want, a great idea on how to turn that hunch into a function or platform, and the ambition and smarts to follow through. Facebook, YouTube, Napster and other content providers that changed the world 80% of consumers 55+ say as we know it were all created by individuals with deeply creative brainpower and insight into what they rely on technology in their people wanted to be able to do but couldn’t. everyday lives (86% of consumers overall) Industry and the media are paying a ention like never before. They’re listening not only to what people say they want, but to what they do. They’re analyzing what devices people are buying and scrutinizing what
  7. 7. RE-DEFINING CONNECTION Only 20 years ago it would have been impossible to no calls to 15 friends looking for advice on a hotel imagine standing at a bus stop in Chicago at 10 p.m. in Palm Springs, no clipping articles from the trading “instant messages” with a friend in Kuala newspaper with the intention of mailing them. A few Lumpur. It would have been impossible to imagine keystrokes or taps on a screen and voila, sharing is someone in Dubuque “playing” tennis in real time accomplished, connections are made, information is with a challenger in Dublin using a motion-sensing acquired and relationships are enriched. device. It would have been impossible to “demand” a movie on a wireless phone no bigger than a People say the ability to share so effortlessly means Hershey’s bar. they feel more connected to the people they care about most. Grandmothers and grandchildren, We are connected to one another in ways that not husbands and wives (and, in some cases, wives and too long ago would have been dismissed as science wives, husbands and husbands), moms and kids, fiction or part of a “House of the Future” display at a dads and kids, friends both old and new, teachers world’s fair, right along with flying cars, teleportation and students. devices and robots that mix cocktails. Being connected means being close to other People understand that today they and the world are human beings. % connected in ways that have transformed society. There’s no going back. And most people wouldn’t choose to even if they could. Pre-technology might as well be pre-history. The technological revolution also has broadened 79% of consumers say they the way people think about what being connected even means. In a research study about service in the will be more dependant on Connected World conducted by Best Buy in April technology in the future 2010,3 consumers defined connection as far more interactive and dynamic than merely having access to friends, family and professional colleagues, though certainly access was a part of it. Importantly, people add that this new, broadened definition of what it means to be connected includes People say being connected means being able an almost indescribable feeling of comfort. By to share more information more o en and with being able to keep in touch in so many ways so more people than ever, including what industry easily, parents worry less about their children, adult professionals and the media call “content,” children worry less about their elderly parents, but what everyday people call photos and bosses worry less about their employees, spouses videos; scrapbooks; advice on products, worry less about one another. Less worry, less stress, services and destinations; entertainment and an easier time focusing on other things that recommendations; and, of course, news and are important. gossip, among an endless list. Added to this, sharing is easier than ever before, too – no standing in long People also say that being connected today is lines at the post office to mail vacation photos, partly defined by the ability to learn about anything 6
  8. 8. at almost any time and anywhere. made some people concerned that, as one Watching the Emmys and don’t know survey respondent put it, “we are individuals who Archie Panjabi is? Type her interacting with our wireless machines, name into Google and up pop looking like we are together, but we aren’t.” almost 500,000 citations in .23 This sentiment was echoed by others who seconds. Writing a term paper on are concerned that “technology will distance how class and poverty influenced us emotionally from each other,” that it is the 18th century British criminal “futuristic, a li le frightening, overwhelming” justice system? Much of what and that life “becomes exponentially degraded will be needed can be found online, by service to and reliance on technology.”5 quickly and efficiently. And for the information that’s not yet online, access to These fears ladder up to anxiety over issues inventories of libraries around the world are available. related to privacy and abuse. Some people People can get their college degrees online, learn to cook are uneasy about how easily information online, study foreign languages online, discover new about them is available, and how products and passions and new ways of doing things online, and surf services they buy, or things in which they’ve data on virtually any topic of interest. Almost any of this shown interest online, are tracked. can be accomplished on a variety of devices too, so while people may want to study at their desks using a computer, No one suggests that concerns about living in they can also study by calling up information on their a connected world means we should (or even smart phone while riding the bus to school or access a could) turn back time and return to rotary spreadsheet while at the airport. phones, brick and mortar stores exclusively and an era of network television only. One in three Americans have People want to be connected and want to used Skype for video or experience the promise of these new ways of defining what it means to be and feel phone conversation connected. People want to live in a truly connected world. Some say that the ease with which people can connect Being connected today has moved far beyond these days not only adds a new dimension to their lives the traditional dictionary definition to in terms of information shared and learned, but that encompass the way we live, the technology the entire experience of sharing – from downloading that is available to us, and the opportunities vacation pictures to surfing YouTube for funny videos that technology presents for creating to following URLs on Twi er – makes sharing more fun, connections that not only re-define the more interesting. word, but re-define our lives. % The Best Buy data4 also indicates that people take this new definition of what it means to be connected to the next level by not merely passively sharing content but creating it through blogs, vlogs and podcasts; videos posted to YouTube or Facebook; photo albums posted on Shu erfly or flickr; personal profiles on or 54% of consumers want Bleetbox, and more. to be able to connect with Profound shi s in how we lead our lives, especially shi s people from ANY device that have occurred relatively quickly, as has happened through the use of consumer technology, always inspire worries, too. The growth in consumer technology has 7
  9. 9. THE SHIFTING TECH UNIVERSE Consumers at the Center of Consumer Electronics 8
  10. 10. SHIFTING TECH UNIVERSE People have begun to experience the possibilities Today people are multitaskers in virtually every of a connected world and they like how it feels. facet of their lives and, increasingly, platform agnostic. Through their behaviors they are telling the In fact, a Pew Research Center survey6 shows that consumer technology industry that despite the many Americans of all ages (and political ideologies) gadgets and gizmos available, in some significant believe technology companies have the most positive ways it is not doing enough – not creating the right effect on how things are going in the country today – products, not offering the right services, and not listening to people’s concerns about ease of use and ... more positive than religion customer service, among other things. ... more positive than universities People want their consumer technology – and the companies that create, sell and service it – to % ... more positive than the federal government. multitask along with them by providing ways to receive, send, share, comment on, alter and create content, regardless of device or platform. People are at a tipping point, with Pew reporting that almost four out of 10 adults 89% of consumers believe claim to have increased the amount of time they consumer electronics companies spend online as they come to trust and depend should use more consumer feed- on their mobile devices more. And it’s not just the back to influence innovation increasing availability or reliability of broadband driving this shi . Instead, more adults are seeing how an increasingly connected world – one in which they are more accessible to their families, friends, Of the top 15 “changes for the be er” that people colleagues and others and vice versa – can benefit believe, Pew reports 11 are technology related, them and improve their lives. While Pew notes that including cell phones (in first place), online shopping some adults do not “feel the pull of mobility,” it’s clear (in eighth place) and social networking sites (in than many others feel the pull intensely. twel h place). That pull – that shi in human behavior – is pushing These positive feelings toward technology consumer technology companies in new directions and the change in everyday behaviors it as people’s usage habits grow and evolve. % enables will continue to drive companies to develop new and innovative products in order to satisfy people’s desires and expectations to be a part of a connected world. No longer are people willing to be limited by their technology devices – people want to be able to do 66% of consumers have more on their cell phones than just talk, more on provided feedback to their TVs than just sit passively, couch-potato-like, technology retailers or receiving but not interacting with what’s on, more with their computers than write e-mail and create manufacturers spreadsheets, more on their iPods than just listen 9 to the latest music.
  11. 11. Natural user interface (NUI), for instance, in which This gradual progression – a generational shi – of devices and services are driven through natural people moving from platform-centric usage to human movements or gestures that control and platform-agnostic usage suggests that eventually manipulate experiences and content – as opposed nearly everyone will be less concerned with the to those movements or gestures that are unique to means by which they watch TV. This will drive each device or service and have to be learned and innovation in consumer technology products, relearned with each successive device or service – devices, platforms, retailers and services to take is one that has been quickly embraced by both the greater advantage of this platform agnosticism. public and the consumer technology industry. Face- As an example, Flo TV, a unit of Qualcomm, and voice-recognition, movement sensors and other recently invested about $1 billion in mobile video “humanistic ways” of interacting with technology distribution, which will send ESPN and MTV, among are no longer limited to “high-tech secret agents and other channels, to phones. ‘Star Trek,’” notes a January 10, 2010, feature story on Microso .com.7 “NUI is meant to remove mental Television-viewing habits are not the only behaviors and physical barriers to technology,” August de los being impacted. Reyes, principal director of user experience for Microso Surface, said in the Microso feature “to make computing feel more intuitive, and to expand “Power is moving away from the old the pale e of ways users can experience technology.” elite in our industry – the editors, As The New York Times8 pointed out in an article the chief executives and let’s face in September, 2010, on the subject, “The next it, the proprietors. A new genera- generation of screens might not even need touch.” tion of media consumers has arisen, demanding content delivered when Consumer usage habits – and the way and speed they want it, how they want it and with which consumer companies address those very much as they want it.” habits – will also change as millennials, Gen Xers, and baby boomers age (and, inevitably, the next as-yet- - Rupert Murdoch unnamed generation grows in influence). According to an August 2010 comScore report,9 for instance, while 87 percent of people 65 years or Nielsen data10 indicates that American teens are older watch TV on their TV sets only, less than half showing consistent pa erns of technology use and (45 percent) of people aged 18-24 watch TV on TV connectedness, increasingly gravitating to texting sets exclusively. An almost equal number of those and social networks as their primary lines of digital in this age group watch TV on a variety of platforms, communication. More than other generations, they while only 12 percent of those 65 and older do. think alternatives, such as e-mail, as somewhat Data for those age groups in between the youngest passé – more appropriate for their parents and even and oldest analyzed in the comScore report (25- to grandparents than for themselves. 34-year-olds, 35- to 49-year-olds and 50- to 64-year-olds) also indicates that the younger Of course, these teens will grow up and be young people are the more apt they are to be adults and then middle-aged adults and seniors. platform agnostic, watching television shows Eventually their habits will be everyone’s habits. on whatever platform is most suited to them at the moment, which may be a traditional TV What’s more, as technology evolves and set at home but may also be a smart phone while ensuing generations of young people adopt new standing in line at the grocery store, a laptop while platforms, products and services sooner and more waiting for a flight to take off or an iPad while si ing enthusiastically than their parents, consumer by the pool. technology companies will be able to use these new 10
  12. 12. usage habits (or non-usage habits as the case may be) as direction indicators, showing them how and where to proceed, what people want – or don’t – and what may catch on. Mike Walsh, author of Futuretainment11, points to another key indication that a shi in habits among consumer technology users may impact how and when and where technology companies innovate, and introduce new and be er products and services. He notes that despite the poorer resolution quality of devices such as MP3 players, camera phones and Web-streamed videos, they’ve all flourished at the expense of their higher-quality progenitors: CDs, film cameras and DVDs, respectively. “Clearly,” Walsh writes, “to consumers, utility is a more powerful incentive than fidelity.” It may become clear to consumer technology companies, too, that in a connected world people are no longer accepting as a given that their preferred means of interacting with content offers lower- quality experiences than elsewhere. If companies respond by bringing high-quality technology to the products they create, it will be consumers who can take the credit. Our world, connected • User-recommendation site GDGT features more than 17,000 devices and reports “hundreds of thousands” Myriad other data points exist that all point to of users rating and recommending technology to each the same thing: shi s in human behaviors, desires other. and expectations may significantly influence how all sectors of the consumer electronics industry • Data from the Consumer Electronics Association for innovate going forward. 200912 indicates that the average number of devices owned per household had risen to 24, tracking far faster than growth in number of people per household, suggest- Moreover, this shi offers all sectors of the ing that individual device usage is multiplying as well. consumer technology industry opportunities to lead and build a favorable reputation through • Some analysts have called 2010 the year augmented cu ing-edge innovation and honest, and transparent reality became a reality, with popular apps such as Layar and Yelp! Monocle featuring on latest generation smart interaction with consumers. phones. Layar’s makers reported 1.5 million downloads of its app as of April 2010. Finally, and maybe most important, this shi and the impact of its influence will further move people to the center, solidifying their position as dynamic central players in the future of the consumer technology industry. 11
  14. 14. PROMISE OF THE CONNECTED WORLD Like other profound, life-will-never-be-the-same-again advances – the invention of fire, the first wheel, the skinny soy iced chai tea la e – consumer technology and the promise of a connected world has already altered our individual, day-to-day lives as deeply and permanently as it has society overall. No one anywhere – from the teeming streets of Tokyo to the most remote villages in India to the glassy high-rises % along the seafront Corniche in Abu Dhabi to the shrub-lined suburbs surrounding every American city – is immune from its reach. As technology has slowly and then quickly seeped into our lives, as broadband speeds increase, as more 4G networks and natural user interfaces and the devices that take 60% of consumers have advantage of them both grow in number, the promise of a watched a TV show online connected world has evolved along with the functions and diminishing size and he of the devices that house them. In short, the promise of a connected world is not sacrosanct (like “to love, cherish and obey till death us do part”) but an evolving promise that, in business-speak, is also easily customizable. Each of us view the promise of a connected world through the lens of our own lives, experiences and expectations. The promise of a connected world is, in part, unique to the individual. For a 17-year-old high school senior in Spokane who has absorbed technology into his life virtually since the day he was born, the promise of Despite our individual take on a connected world may be so big and unknowable he can’t wrap his brain the promise of a connected around it. Yet for his 82-year-old grandmother 3,000 miles away in Boca world, on a mass scale our Raton who prizes her Sunday evening video chats with him, the promise of pursuit of, use of and society- a connected world may feel delightfully fulfilled. wide discussion of technology As more people connect with more people for more reasons, creativity and suggests that we also hold a anticipation for what’s next and what could be has blossomed. Everyday common view of this promise. people – not just Harvard geeks and Silicon Valley engineers – are thinking up ideas, big “what ifs” that will challenge the consumer technology industry for years to come. Ultimately, what the promise of a connected world suggests, perhaps, is that we are not alone (or, at least, that we don’t have to be alone). The promise of a connected world – our connected world – holds that we are a part of something bigger than ourselves. It holds that we are part of a web of people and ideas and traditions and concerns that bring us together – that expand our social and professional circles; that introduce us to people and cultures and data and insights to which we might not have ever been exposed; that provoke us to 13
  15. 15. think differently and act responsibly; that allow us to unite to hold those in power accountable, to change our Our world, connected communities and even the world; that help us feel safe 2009 Forrester data13 and secure and in control of our health and wellness; that allow us to have both a virtual presence in the real suggests that people world and a real presence in the virtual world. plan to continue connect- Consumer technology itself, of course, hasn’t made any ing, with 30 million new promises; it is we who have projected our hopes and homes expected to be dreams and expectations on technology. connected in the next four In other words, ultimately, it is we who hold the promise years and an additional of a connected world. 39 million expected to purchase HDTVs between 2009 and 2014. % 87% of consumers 83% of consumers have 65% of those 18- have paid a bill online, watched user-generated 24 say they want to with 96% of those 18- content online, and 30% be connected to the 24 having done so have contributed content Internet at all times themselves 14
  16. 16. TOP 10 GIFT/GADGET TRENDS FOR HOLIDAY 2010 The promise of the connected world isn’t about being The human appetite for new and be er consumer “on” as much as it is about being “there.” technology that allows people to stay connected rises year over year, especially during the holiday There in the moment. season and despite the prevailing economy. As in previous years, research indicates that both “staples” There in the conversation. There in the center, exactly – gi categories such as televisions, cameras, and where people today want to be. MP3 players – as well as those deemed “hot” by retailers, the media, tech influencers, celebrities Holiday 2010 advances this idea by giving people an and others will be in high demand. extraordinary number of gi options that will allow them and those with whom they share the holidays Included on the list of the top 10 expected top new and exciting ways to stay connected. sellers for 2010: A Best Buy Consumer Insights Unit study in • Gaming products like Kinect for Xbox 360, September 2010 looked at the 2010 top 10 holiday PlayStation Move and Wii will change the ways that season technology product categories and found families and friends connect in the living room. that they include vastly different devices with an incredible array of functions and capabilities. • Internet-connected TVs, BluRay players and set top boxes will help “Smart TVs” redefine the category. What many of them have in 3D TV also will drive a lot of buzz. common, however, is Holiday 2010 portability, accessibility • Di o for iPads and other tablet PCs that burst onto Top Trending Tech Gi and wireless capability the scene earlier this year and have continued to Categories that allows users pique the media’s a ention. to connect and Gaming systems share content • Cell phones continue to get scooped up, with and experiences interest in the iPhone 4 and Droids especially rabid. Televisions and games and Computing entertainment • Rounding out the top five, DSLR and point & shoot Smart Phones and music with cameras are expected to be high on many holiday Cameras family, friends, shopping lists. MP3 players lovers, colleagues, e-readers people on the other Despite the reality of these and other devices, they BluRay players side of the world are merely the means by which people continue to GPS with whom they play drive connections and build relationships. As they Video games games, or the 500 million grow in functionality yet (where meaningful) shrink in Facebook users with whom size, they are be er able to be used by people they have the potential to connect to do what people do best: connect. – among others – in an instant at any time and from anywhere. They allow for content creation, content sharing, content rating and They can be “there,” wherever “there” is at any most importantly, content contentment given moment, whenever they want, from as never before. wherever they are. This holiday season the promise of a connected world inches closer to reality. 15
  18. 18. CONNECTION CONUNDRUM Yes, the promise of a connected world is celebrated by many. A er all, more than 4.6 billion cell phones Our world, disconnected are in use, YouTube has nearly 2 billion views a day, and Facebook claims more than 500 million users. While the things that frustrate people about consumer technology, such as those listed below, Yet consumer technology still frustrates a hell of a may not be surprising, they may bear repeating lot of people. since in addition to being frustrations, they are also barriers to adoption, barriers to sales and In fact, the greatest hurdle the industry may have to barriers to expanding the reach of technology overcome to make the promise a reality is the into our lives.: continuing anxiety, aggravation and annoyance consumer technology inspires. • Too many choices, too li le trusted counsel Unfortunately, the problem may get worse before it • Unrequested computer updates gets be er. • Too many functions on one device • Spam For instance, according to “Greying Gadgets: How • Lack of support for older products Older Americans Shop for and Use Consumer Elec- • Possibility of losing files, work, music, etc. tronics,” a 2009 study from the Consumer Electron- • Perceived smugness of workers in tech support ics Association (CEA)14, older age groups use many • Viruses electronic devices at about the same rate as those younger than them. “Consumers in their 50s are as • Vast array of phone plans likely to own, or plan on buying, an HDTV as those un- • Monitoring children’s online use der 50. Eighty percent of 60-somethings used a cell • Ba eries that need constant charging phone in the past week, nearly equal the usage rates of 18-34 year olds,” notes the study. Even Facebook – more technology, the instances of frustration may which started out as a social networking site grow, as well. That said, as younger people who are for college students – is graying, with a new more comfortable with technology themselves age, report from the Pew Research Center’s frustration among this now-older generation may Internet & American Life Project reporting dissipate commensurately. that almost half (47 percent) of people on the site are now between 50 years of age and 64 years While older people may tip the scales in their levels of age.15 of frustration, adults of all ages are easily frustrated by the technology they’ve adopted. As a 2010 study But the CEA study, as well as reports from other from the CMO Council’s Customer Experience Board sources including Pew, also note higher levels of notes, 64 percent of people say their computer has frustration with consumer technology among older caused them “anguish or anxiety.”16 % Americans. As more people who get frustrated adopt 61% of consumers have a hard 54% of consumers agree that ge ing time keeping up with tech changes technology products set up is the hardest (79% of those ages 55+) part about buying new technology 17
  19. 19. % 56% of consumers do not feel wait times, inability to fix problems, the cost of the service and limited language skills of technicians. How the various sectors of the consumer technology industry address the obstacles to a more positive they get the most out of the relationship between people and technology may technology products they own mean the difference between fulfilling the promise of a connected world or coming up short. (65% of those 55+) Reputations are built over the long term, yet they And a 2008 report from Pew17 shows that almost can be destroyed over night. The longer people half (48 percent) of technology users require help remain (or, worse, grow more) frustrated by aspects with new devices. Moreover, as technology becomes of consumer technology, the more difficult it will be more integral to people, and more integrated into for them to embrace and ultimately benefit from the their personal and professional lives, notes the Pew promise of a connected world. report, “their patience wears thin when things break.” Among people whose technology had failed, 48 While people increasingly are becoming more central percent felt “discouraged” with the amount of time in the consumer technology universe, without some and effort ge ing things fixed took and serious industry a ention to the issues that frustrate 40 percent felt “confused” by the people most, their movement to the center may be information available to them. delayed indefinitely. Turning to professional help, which Happy holidays, please hold should ease anxiety, o en only adds to it. Hard to believe it, but in 2008 a study from the TechGuys, According to the CMO Council’s study, “today’s one of the largest technical support providers in the UK, digitally dependent consumers are increasingly reported that on Christmas morning frustration with overwhelmed and upset with technical glitches and consumer technology gi s and gadgets peaks at 11:48 problems in their daily lives. The source of their pain: a.m., on the dot. frustrating, complex computers and devices, techni- cal failures, viral infections, and long waits to resolve “The language used by major technology companies support issues that disrupt the flow of their work can be completely baffling even for the most technically and personal lives.” These users, it concludes, “face a gi ed of us,” linguistics expert David Crystal, author of the continuous state of technical anxiety.” Cambridge Encyclopedia of Language, said in an article about the study that appeared in the Dailey Telegraph in A Parks Associates study18 shows that in 2009 London. “Many use highly complex terms that only spe- almost one out of three people used in-store or in- cialists within the technology field would be able to put home technical support, a 10 percent increase from into context.” 2006. Whether this is a result of poor-quality de- vices, connections, customer service, the growth of Whereas it used to be the greatest frustration a gi giver and marketing by tech support companies like Geek felt was forge ing to have enough triple-A ba eries on Squad that are making it okay to seek help from out- hand or difficulty using a screwdriver or wrench to get a side service providers or other causes, the fact that much-anticipated gi up and running, today Christmas more people are requesting help is itself frustrating. morning (or any morning) can involve long waits online or on the phone with customer service representatives Yet customer technical support has not kept pace overwhelmed with calls. with the growing complexity of technical require- ments, deepening frustration among those who need The promise of a connected world that includes easy help (and creating opportunity for those that provide assemble, easy set up and easily had help when it). Top sources of stress and frustration with the necessary may be the greatest holiday gi of all. tech support experience, says the CMO, include long 18
  20. 20. OUR WORLD, CONNECTED New Social Connections from Best Buy 19
  21. 21. BEST BUY: OUR PERSPECTIVE % 64% of consumers agree because constant change can be overwhelming ... because usual customer service can be underwhelming... that technology brings families because while people are ge ing savvier with each new technology purchase, they’re still feeling unsure closer together about how to connect it, connect with it and use it to connect with others... We live in a connected world that every day is because people are fearful of being le behind ... connecting faster and faster and faster. At Best because people are excited about charging ahead. Buy we relish the pace. We’re exhilarated by how the connected world is evolving and presenting For these reasons and more, our distinctive new opportunities to deepen our relationship with relationship with consumers has given us an consumers. We’re inspired by discovering new extraordinary opportunity to help them get the most ways to help people understand and enjoy all from this new world. that the connected world allows today and promises tomorrow. We believe in our Connected World We’ll be the first (and the loudest) to say that the strategy so much – both in its current connected world is less about the technology reality and in its promise to continue to and devices people use and more about how that enrich and enliven our days far into the technology and those devices access and bring to future – that we have taken our Best Buy life the human interaction people want and need (it’s about experiences). A er all, vacation pictures heritage and shaken it up a bit are about the memories they evoke, not about the to become not just Best Buy, but the camera. Watching a movie is about the experience of Best of what you Buy, helping people a great film, not the DVD player. Talking with friends bridge the connectivity gap in selection, and family is about the human connections those service, price and convenience this holiday conversations create, not about the phone. The season and beyond. devices are important, but they are only a means to an end, not the end itself. We are the consumer advocate in consumer electronics, offering many brands and lots of choice. The connected world may mean different things to Every day we help customers find solutions for different people but, ultimately, the definition resides their needs and help them be er understand the in the fundamental premise that people are innately possibilities of all that we offer in devices, content, social beings and want to connect with other people. connections and services. People are looking for a resource they can trust to We know, for instance, that being a part of a “social help them understand and navigate the complexities network” has li le to do with Facebook, Beebo, hi5 of the connected world... or Orkut. These don’t define our world. Instead, in the 20
  22. 22. connected world as we believe it truly is, social networks are about people and the relationships they form with one another, enabled by devices and websites. Real social networks are complex and personalized, built through multiple technologies that enable person-to-person human connections: the ones in the family room that bring family and friends together to watch the big game, the ones via smart phones that enable social network access, the ones that share documents and photos and e-mail, the ones using Webcams that allow friends to show off their latest fashion finds with one another. These are the experiences of the connected world, the results of coming together. We believe in the human experience of social networks so much that we’ve created our own human social network – a virtual human search engine with 160,000 uniquely trained Blue Shirts and 20,000 Geek Squad Agents who help consumers address their needs and be er understand the possibilities of devices, content, connections and services. Our Blue Shirts are trained to help customers zero in on the experience they want, allow them to test and try things, and advise them on how to best connect the various devices, content and people to enhance their lives. Our Geek Squad Agents provide resources for technical support anytime and anywhere it’s needed – 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. We offer the most convenient technology-support service available, with agents available in every Best Buy store, via house calls and online remote service. Ultimately, Best Buy is more than a place to buy devices. It is a comprehensive resource to help people use technology to connect (and stay connected) to the services they need, the information they crave, the entertainment they want and, perhaps most importantly, the people they love. The promise of the connected world comes together at Best Buy every day. Eventually, I believe we won’t even need any devices. We’ll all have con- tact lens with built-in three-dimensional displays - bionic eyes that will allow us to receive and share content, redefining the connected world as we know it. -Robert Stephens Chief Technology Officer at Best Buy Co., Inc., Founder of Geek Squad 21
  23. 23. SECTION SUMMARIES AND IMPLICATIONS Re-Defining Connection: want to be able to connect with people from any Today’s definition of what it means to be connected device. A full 65 percent of consumers want all of is all about generating content, sharing content, their technology devices to “talk” to each other. In and deepening relationships between people and the not too distant future, consumer desires will those they care about; between people and brands, be a reality. companies and products that are important to them; and between people and the never-ending Connectivity Conundrum: sources of information that the Web has inspired. With the great promise of the connected world Being connected today has moved far beyond the and the possibility that new technologies enable, traditional dictionary definition to encompass the there is no doubt that consumer technology still way we live, the technology that is available to us, frustrates the hell out of a lot of people. People and the opportunities that technology presents o en are overwhelmed by choices, customer for creating connections that not only redefine the support challenges and the speed at which word, but redefine our lives. technology is evolving. Only eight percent of consumers feel they are completely on top of The Shi ing Tech Universe: technology changes and 54 percent agree that ge ing products set up is the hardest part about Myriad. . . data points exist that all point to the buying new technology. Without serious industry same thing: shi s in human behaviors, desires a ention to the issues that frustrate people most, and expectations may significantly influence how it will be difficult for people to fully embrace all sectors of the consumer electronics industry and ultimately benefit from the promise of the innovate going forward. . . this shi offers all sectors connected world. of the consumer technology industry opportunities to lead and build a favorable reputation through cu ing-edge innovation, and honest and transparent Our World, Connected – New Social interaction with consumers. And finally, more Connectivity from Best Buy: importantly, this shi and the impact of its influence At Best Buy, we believe in our Connected World will further move people to the center, solidifying strategy so much – both in its current reality and their position as dynamic central players in the in its promise to continue to enrich our days far future of the consumer technology industry. into the future – that we have taken our Best Buy heritage and shaken it up to become not just Best The Promise of a Connected World: Buy, but the Best of what you Buy. Helping people The promise of a connected world is not sacrosanct bridge the connectivity gap in selection, service, but an evolving promise that, in business-speak, price and convenience. Our 160,000 Blue Shirts is also easily customizable. Each of us views the and 20,000 Geek Squad Agents talk to consumers promise of a connected world through the lens every day and help people use technology to of our own lives, experiences and expectations. connect to the services they need, the information Technology plays a unique and integral role in our they crave, the entertainment they want and the ability to connect, and consumer see the possibility people they love. of what’s ahead. Fi y-four percent of consumers 22
  24. 24. END NOTES 1 Our World, Connected Omnibus Survey, August 2010. Methodology: Study findings compiled by the Consumer Insights Unit at Best Buy. The survey was conducted online among a sample of 994 respondents ages 18+ using the field services of e-Rewards from August 26-30, 2010. The results are nationally representative of the U.S. and have a margin of error of +/- 3 percent 2 Williams, Doug, J.P. Gownder, Laura Wiramihardja, and Anne E. Corbe . US Consumers Are Willing Co-Creators - August, 2010. Forrester Research 3 Best Buy: “BTP in the Connected World,” qualitative pre-study, 2010 4 Our World, Connected Omnibus Survey, August 2010 5 Best Buy: “BTP in the Connected World,” qualitative pre-study, 2010 6 Internet, Cell Phones Are Changes for the Be er. December 21, 2009. Washington, D.C.: Pew Research Center 7 “Natural User Interfaces: Voice, Touch and Beyond: Project Natal and Other Natural User Interface Products That Microso Is Working on Are Helping Usher in a New Generation of Human-computer Interaction.” Microso Corporation. Web. <h p://www.microso .com/presspass/features/2010/ jan10/01-06cesnui.mspx> 8 “To Win Over Users, Gadgets Have to Be Touchable.” New York Times. 1 September 2010. Web. 15 September 2010. <h p://> 9 ComScore: “Great Expectations, How Advertising for Original Scripted TV Programming Works Online,” August 2020 10 Nielsen Netview, June 2009 – June 2010 11 Walsh, Mike. Futuretainment: Yesterday the World Changed, Now It’s Your Turn. London: Phaidon, 2009. Print 12 Consumer Electronics Association 11th Annual Household Consumer Electronics and Market Potential Study, May 2009 Forrester’s North American Technographics Benchmark Survey of nearly 48,000 respondents, 2009 13 h p://,1769,1304,00.html 14 Consumer Electronics Association/TNS Compete: “Greying Gadgets: How Older Americans Shop for and Use Consumer Electronic,” January 2009 Swi , Mike. “Near Majority of the Over-50 Crowd Using Social Networks.” San Jose Mercury News 27 15 August 2010 16 CMO Council, Customer Experience Board: “Combating Computer Stress Syndrome: Barriers and Best Practices in Tech Support,” May 2010 17 Pew Research Center’s Internet & American Life Project: “When Technology Fails, November 2008 18 Park Associates study on Customer Support in the Digital Home, 2009 23 Material may be used with credit given to Best Buy.