Digital availability more important than Christmas, claims survey

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A new study of 2,000 UK consumers reveals nearly two in ten (17 percent) would sacrifice spending the festive season with family or friends to ensure all the online services they currently use remain constantly available.

The figures rise to one in five men (20 percent) and nearly a quarter of 16-24-year olds (22 percent), demonstrating the nation’s reliance on digital availability in 2020.

Findings from the new study for cloud infrastructure provider Sungard Availability Services (Sungard AS) highlight that UK households expect to be most reliant on online grocery deliveries (22 percent), entertainment streaming (21 percent) and online retailers (21 percent) over the holiday period.

And aside from giving up time with friends and family, men appear more tied to digital experiences, with 34 percent prepared to forego a month’s worth of chocolate consumption (compared to 32 percent of women) and 12 percent happy to lose a day’s wages to ensure access (compared to 10 percent of women).

With digital availability having a huge impact on both human relationships and mental wellbeing for consumers in 2020, the study also sheds light on the consequences of accessibility suddenly being removed:

  • Half (49 percent) of respondents believe their mental wellbeing would suffer if they were left unable to access online services over the holidays for 48 hours
  • Over a third (35 percent) stated a relationship with a partner would suffer if they were left unable to access online services for 48 hours, with 6 percent admitting this would suffer in less than hour
  • In 7 percent of cases, mental wellbeing would suffer in less than an hour, rising to 12 percent amongst 16-24-year olds

As many businesses continue to struggle and look to online offerings to make the most of what is usually a golden quarter, results from the study show ‘access to services whenever I need them’ charts as a top consideration for future purchases amongst consumers in over a third of cases (37 percent). Tolerance of downtime is low too, with 15 percent of respondents stating they would switch provider after only one day if left unable to access a service.

“The message to businesses this festive season is clear – stay available or risk valuable customers going elsewhere,” comments Chris Huggett, SVP EMEA at Sungard Availability Services.

“An uncertain year looks set to end in an uncertain way, with a patchwork of restrictions likely to remain in place for some time. Consumers have been highly reliant on technology to help them cope in 2020 and this looks set to continue in the weeks ahead.”

Chris Price
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