Suppliers of broadband services, as well as manufacturers of Internet and telecommunications devices, are faced with the challenge of tailoring their services to meet the needs of consumers. The results of the survey show what consumers value most:
SIMPLE AND INTUITIVE DEVICES AND SERVICES. Of the 5,120 German Internet users surveyed, around 79 percent agreed with the statement: “Technical devices and Internet services must above all be simple and intuitive to use”. This desire for simplicity is not at all due to a lack of technical understanding on the part of users, but rather a result of consumers’ increased self-confidence toward their suppliers. A look at the reference group of the digital avant-garde highlights this: although the individuals that make up this group are very technically well versed, they are actually more demanding than average users when it comes to simplicity, with 81 percent agreeing with the statement. The French are even less prepared to put up with complicated interfaces and poor operability, with 87 percent of respondents agreeing with the statement.
When designing devices and services to be as easy to use as possible, it would also seem worthwhile to focus more on the operating instructions of new devices, as German users in particular are very unwilling to read these. Just 37 percent of respondents in Germany agreed with the statement “When I unpack a new device, the first thing I do is read the instructions.” In other words, around 63 percent of Internet users in Germany start using their new technical devices without reading the instructions first. In the cross-country comparison, the German users were the least likely to read the instructions. The figures in the remaining countries in the survey are a little higher, with the percentage of those in France that read the instructions standing at 44 percent, compared to 47 percent for Great Britain, 55 percent for Hungary, and 52 percent for both the USA and South Korea. However, even here, around half of the respondents trust in their own technological understanding and the intuitive operation of their new device.
SPEED. This is a similarly important aspect for consumers. Long waiting times, such as when loading a website, are totally unacceptable for around three quarters of the respondents in Germany (78 percent), while as many as 84 percent of the digital avant-garde reference group are not prepared to wait around for a website to load. Those surveyed in France are similarly impatient (81 percent). Only those surveyed in South Korea are a little more relaxed (70 percent).
PERSONALIZED CONTENT. The general trend in society for individualization is also reflected on the Internet and in telecommunications. 56 percent of those surveyed in Germany stated that they were interested in customized or customizable content and services.
Similar numbers of Internet users in Great Britain (56 percent) and the USA (55 percent) also agreed with this statement. The importance of personalization and individualization in the future is indicated by the digital avant-garde respondents in Germany: As many as 84 percent of those surveyed expressed a preference for the kind of services that are tailored to their own specific interests. In South Korea – which is in many respects a pioneer in terms of digitization and networking – at 71 percent the demand for customizable services is also significantly more pronounced than in any of the other countries involved in the survey (see Figures 17 and 18).
HIGH DATA SECURITY. Around half of all those surveyed in Germany (50 percent) stated that they often worried that their private data could fall into the wrong hands online. This figure was even higher for the digital avant-garde reference group, standing at 57 percent, and thus at a similar level to the other countries. The respondents in South Korea were most worried about the misuse of their private data (60 percent), while respondents in Hungary were least concerned (42 percent).
HIGH CONVENIENCE. 50 percent of those surveyed believe it would be a good thing if they did not have to log in separately for each individual service on the Internet, with even 68 percent of the digital avant-garde sharing this opinion. Around a third of the respondents in Germany (34 percent) and around 48 percent of the digital avant-garde state that they occasionally lose track of all the different passwords and PINs they have to remember. In Germany, 56 percent of Internet users overall, and around three quarters of the digital avant-garde, would like to have one single number or address that they could be contacted on for all media (telephone, e-mail, etc). 80 percent of respondents find services such as synchronizing contacts and address books on all devices interesting or very interesting. All this shows that services which help keep technological diversity manageable and make existing services simpler, easier and more straightforward are highly sought after among consumers.