Gabey Goh
Mar 22, 2016

Connected tech? Asian consumers say 'bring it on'

SINGAPORE - Consumers in APAC are more likely to be receptive to digitally connected products and the Internet of Things than their counterparts around the world, according to new research from Mindshare.

Connected tech? Asian consumers say 'bring it on'

The research, carried out by the WPP-owned media agency network across 19 markets and 11,000 respondents using its Mindreader survey, looks at people’s attitudes toward connected devices and products in the home and the services they could perform, such as automatic reordering of products or notifications of food expiry dates.

Among the Asian countries surveyed, China, India and Malaysia are leading the “connected” charge. Consumers in Japan and Australia remain more sceptical toward connected products and more in line with the rest of the world.

Amy Kean, regional director of strategy with Mindshare Asia Pacific, noted that digital technology has “excited the world for decades”, but it seems there is no other region more passionate about a connected future than APAC.

She added that for many Asian consumers, the internet isn't a separate 'thing', it's just an always-on mobile-driven extension of their lives. So the idea of connected homes, cars and security systems is simple evolution—a no-brainer.

“However, IoT companies still have some work to do to convince consumers across China, India and Japan to part with their data,” Kean said. “Not necessarily because of privacy concerns but rather because users of yet to see the true value of digitally-driven life technologies." 

Consumers are most excited about the prospect of the connected home and car as an obvious extension of their current digital lives, with home security (84 percent) and TVs (82 percent) being the most popular choices.

This was followed by music systems (74 percent), heating / aircon (70 percent), cars (69 percent), door locks (65 percent), washing machines (60 percent), and refrigerators (59 percent).

In many cases, consumers in markets such as India and China were around twice as interested as the global average.

When it comes to consumables, APAC respondents were warm to the idea of connected food (40 percent), drinks (38 percent), clothes (36 percent), shoes (35 percent), health and beauty products (34 percent), laundry products (34 percent), cleaning products (33 percent), toilets (30 percent) and mirrors (27 percent).

The study also looked at the barriers to entry for these connected products and devices, including the sharing of data. Globally, 60 percent of people are ‘concerned’ about companies knowing how, when and how often they use their products.

The concern rises to 63 percent in South Korea, 67 percent in China, 75 percent in Malaysia and 86 percent in India.

Of the devices or products that can be connected, mobile phones (60 percent) cause the most concern over their sharing of data globally, followed by TVs (48 percent), alcohol (45 percent), fresh fruit and vegetables (45 percent), everyday food (45 percent) and ready meals (45 percent).


Globally, the biggest reason stated for concern is that ‘privacy is an important principle to me’ (61 percent), followed by ‘they will use the data to sell me more stuff’ (48 percent) and ‘hackers could access the information’ (43 percent).

But only 20 percent of Chinese consumers said that they wouldn't share data with companies because they “find it creepy”, compared with the 38 percent global average.

The quantitative global study accompanies a qualitative study carried out by Mindshare UK and Mindshare’s dedicated global wearables unit, Life+, which looks into the usage of connected products and devices in the home.

Key findings of the study include:

  • Consumers do not want the additional burden of curating the various and ever-increasing interaction types. Instead there will be a need for a central aggregator to manage the IoT in the home. This may take the form of a personal assistant (Siri, Echo, Cortana), or perhaps an application provided by a retailer.
  • The infrastructure needs to be established for integration of connectivity within packaging, and simple, affordable means of scanning and managing the information and data created. There will likely be significant reward for the brands that make the first successful moves within this space. 


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