Covid-19 has proved to be a catalyst when it comes to the uptake technology purchases, according to a new Deloitte Digital Consumers Trends Report 2020 that explored the rise in device purchases, online shopping, video streaming and banking in response to the lockdown.

Over a quarter (26%) of respondents reported purchasing new devices as a direct result of the coronavirus. Laptops, smartphones and televisions saw the biggest increase in one-off purchases, with close to 10% of respondents shelling out for these personal or home entertainment devices. Laptops are proving popular for online shopping and television and game consoles have re-established their dominance in streaming and gaming respectively. 

“We may technically be in a recession, but consumers appear to be spending on devices that help them feel connected,” Deloitte partner and telecommunications lead, Peter Corbett said. “While forced isolation and closed off borders could have created a more insular society, we’ve seen a focus on connection through the pandemic.”

According to Corbett we have increased our use of all screens in our search for ‘collective experiences’ using devices to connect over Zoom, through email, via networked gaming with friends and by plugging into pop culture to watch the same TV streaming shows as our friends and colleagues.

And while 81%  now have access to ‘any connected device’, up from 78% in 2019 this growth has been largely driven by entertainment devices with 58% of respondents now having access to a smart TV, up from 51% this time last year and TV has made a comeback as the preferred video streaming device for 18-24 year olds.

Other entertainment devices followed a similar trend, with the use of video streaming devices and wireless speakers (with no voice assistant) increasing 4% and 3% respectively when compared to the year prior. Voice-assisted speakers continue to experience strong growth, with 18% of respondents now owning one compared to 13% last year.

More Australians are accessing banking services on smartphones, with 63% of respondents regularly checking their bank balances. Specifically, older generations are embracing the push towards online banking with 80% intending to continue following the lockdown.

The report surveyed 2,000 Australians’ digital consumption habits during June and July this year.

‘Cautious’ is the word when it comes to 5G

Australians attitude to 5G remains cautious, despite the speeding up of consumer digital adoption and the introduction of new trends as a result of the Covid-19 lockdown.

Only 6% of respondents to a Deloitte Digital Consumer Trends 2020 report are using a 5G service and only 15% said they would be willing to switch when 5G becomes available in their region.  Most are currently ambivalent or uninterested; 31% said they would probably switch eventually while 19% said only when 5G was the standard offering and there was no alternative.

“As there was with 3G and 4G before, there is some public scepticism around 5G,” Deloitte partner and telecommunications lead, Peter Corbett said. “This is in part driven by the general public’s poor understanding of the technology with 61% of respondents saying they do not know enough about 5G.”

According to Corbett this points to a huge opportunity for networks to engage Australians and highlight the benefits of 5G to their lives, particularly at a time when digital connection has never been more important.

“While consumers know little about 5G, 43% believe it provides better mobile connectivity and capitalising on this feature could be key to its uptake,” he said.