Smart TV, Smartphones, Tablets, DAB, Facebook: YouGov’s consumer technology predictions for 2012

YouGov, the most quoted research agency in the UK, today reveals its predictions for 2012 on people’s consumption and behaviour around Smart TV, smartphones, Facebook, digital newspapers and digital radio.

Smart TV: not quite a smart bet…yet – Only 15% of UK consumers say they will own one within the next 12 months.

Smart TV ownership (a TV set able to be connected directly to the internet via Ethernet cable or Wi-Fi) is slowly growing. Consequently, the television set will soon become a key device that people use to access internet content either directly, via a games console (such as the Xbox 360) or other ‘plug-in’ box such as Boxee or YouView (a new partnership between major broadcasters such as the BBC and Channel Four as well as BT).

Already 1 in 10 people in the UK own a Smart TV and, while intention to purchase is currently very low, sales could well be stimulated by several key events such as the UK launches in 2012 of Google TV and Netflix, as well as major sporting occasions such as the European Football Championships and the Olympics. There are even rumours that Apple will release a smart TV device: ‘iTV’. Dan Brilot, Media Consulting Director at YouGov, says “Smart content producers must continue to develop their services to make it increasingly easier for people to watch what they want, when they want, wherever they want.”

A main driver for adoption of Smart TV in the future could be the increasing availability of content which is currently only available on broadcast television. Just over one third (36%) of UK respondents aged 18-24 claimed that they would be encouraged to purchase a Smart TV set if more of the TV content they normally watch was available on the internet.

There are already more and more services becoming available on Smart TV’s such as YouTube, MSN, Twitter, Skype and web browsing using Bing or Google. It could well be the ability to use social networking services in conjunction with television services, so called ‘Social TV’ that could be the ‘killer app’ for the Smart TV. According to Brilot “This next evolution of our TV sets is enabling viewers to share and comment on media content using Facebook and Twitter, or even to set up ‘virtual living rooms’ where programmes are watched at the same time between friends but at different locations with social networks enabling the sharing of the viewing experience.”

Smartphones: marketers must get smarter – 86% of smartphone users ignore advertising on mobiles

In the UK, 40% of people own smartphones, increasing to 68% within the next upgrade cycle. Smartphones’ increasing ubiquity and functionality – location-based services, paying for goods, TV on demand – will result in increasing control and interaction with the ‘real’ world, whether though smartphones, smart watches or other personal devices. For example:

In the home: interacting with TVs, tablets and even heating systems
For brand marketers it’s clear that, when engaging with consumers through mobile, this is the type of interaction that provides the real opportunity – not advertising. YouGov research shows how ineffective advertising on mobile phones is; 86% of smartphone users ignore advertising on it; 79% say ads on their smartphones are irritating.

Facebook: the #1 web portal – 60% of UK online population now use it more than once a day

Facebook could well become the main portal that people use all over the world to interact with the web. In terms of visits, it’s already the No.1 site in the US and a close second to Google in the UK. According to YouGov’s own social media tracker, three fifths (60%) of the UK online population now use Facebook more than once a day. If the expected IPO goes ahead in 2012 Facebook will have even more financial clout to challenge Google as the global No.1 web company.

Digital Newspapers: putting print to bed (with a tablet) – 24% of tablet users access the web whilst in bed

“The decline of print media sales will only accelerate during 2012,” says Russell Feldman, Associate Director of Technology at YouGov. “Tablets and apps will increase the digital cannibalisation of paper copies as they erode more of those previously inaccessible locations to digital devices; for example, nearly one quarter (24%) of tablet users access the internet whilst in bed.” Tablet usage is still small (currently only 4% of the UK population own one) but that number is growing and, as the market develops and new entrants such as the Kindle Fire gain traction, newspaper and magazine publishers will focus more effort on specific tablet versions of their publications.

Just over one in five (22%) of 18-24 year olds have listened to the Radio via a portable radio set (including DAB). However, over one third (38%) of this age group has listened to radio streamed over the internet.

Whilst the measurement of radio audiences has moved to the digital age with RAJAR’s introduction of its online diary – built in conjunction with YouGov – DAB take-up hasn’t quite lived up to the initial hype. To make this happen, says Brilot, “The radio industry needs to educate and support consumers as they become accustomed to new ways of listening and to ensure that reach and frequency opportunities are truly maximised – not lost – in the digital age.”