Consumers in emerging economies twice as likely as developed economies to buy consumer technology this year

According to the Accenture report, smartphones are particularly popular with consumers in emerging countries

Despite the reputation that First-World populations have for consumerism, a new study has shown that citizens of emerging countries are twice as likely to purchase and use consumer technology within the next year. They are also more willing to pay a premium for environmentally-friendly consumer electronics, and value innovative new products over brand loyalty. The study was conducted by Accenture, a global management consulting firm, and its findings will have profound implications for the consumer tech marketplace.

Accenture conducted an online survey with 16,000 consumers in four mature countries (the US, Germany, Japan and France) and four emerging countries (India, China, Singapore and Malaysia). The respondents were balanced across geographic regions, age, gender, and other demographic factors. The purpose of the survey was “to identify current and future spending and usage patterns for 19 different consumer technologies, including smartphones, high-definition TVs and computers.”

The findings were very interesting. Within the past year, consumers in emerging countries were at least twice as likely to have bought a smartphone, bought a computer, played games on handheld devices, and connected with people on social networks. The reason, not surprisingly, is newfound wealth. “One of the reasons for this emerging-country growth is the rapid expansion of the middle class with its substantial disposable income,” said Jean-Laurent Poitou, Managing Director of Accenture’s Electronics and High Tech Industry group. “Furthermore, our research shows that the increased demand for smart connected wireless devices such as smartphones is being driven by social-networking applications.” Indeed, the study found that emerging-market consumers were much more interested in taking advantage of all the activities available on any one technology, smartphones being a prime example.

The Accenture 2010 Consumer Electronics Products and Services Usage Report was ultimately about trying to gain deeper insights into global differences. Those differences just don’t happen to be what everyone might expect.

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