Australians Believe Their Smartphones Bring Happiness But Worry That Digital Innovation Is Too Slow

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Australians love their digital devices, allowing them into every corner of their lives, but many believe we’re falling behind and becoming less advanced than the rest of the world, according to a study and survey by accountancy and consultancy firm EY.

The findings are revealed in EY’s inaugural study, Digital Australia: State of the Nation 2014, which surveyed 1,500 consumers and 167 of Australia’ digital opinion leaders.

The research explores views about Australia’s digital status compared to its global competitors, the best and worst sectors online, smartphone and tablet use, and behaviour and social media.

Here are some of the insights into Australia’s digital world:

  • Australians are addicted to their smart devices with 69% checking their device as soon as they wake up in the morning
  • 46% say their smartphone/tablet improves their happiness, while one in five say it impacts their sleep
  • Consumers say entertainment, TV, films and media sites offer the best digital experiences, while government and utilities sites rank the worst
  • Privacy around personal data and security rank as top concerns for consumers online
  • 80% of Australians believe government should force organisations to be more transparent about how they use customer data
  • 40% of consumers believe Australia’s status as a digital nation is less advanced than other developed countries, while only 14% of Australians say we are more advanced.

The digital opinion leaders surveyed believe the picture is bleak for Australia, with 59% agreeing we are trailing our global peers.

Nearly half cite a lack of investment by organisations in digital as a “major concern” and 67% claim we are in danger of being left behind as a result of government policy on digital.

EY Customer Leader Jenny Young says Australians readily differentiate between good and bad digital experiences and take a harder line when assessing organisations online.

She says it’s widely accepted that we’re in an era where the consumer has ultimate power.

This is especially true in the digital world, she says. Consumer demand is driving fierce competition and innovation while at the same time technologies and media platforms are changing the way consumers behave.

“Australians have a love-hate relationship with their smartphone,” Ms Young says.

“They appreciate the convenience and control it brings to their lives both personally and at work as they can be connected anywhere-anytime.

“But this can create a ‘paradox of connection. that can actually make them feel disconnected to the real world.”

Here’s what people think about their smartphones and tablets:

  • 46% say their mobile device has a positive impact on their personal happiness
  • 40% say their smartphone has a positive influence on their work productivity
  • Almost two out of five say smartphones have a positive impact on their “sense of belonging” and half believe they help them feel “in control”
  • 64% admit they are multi-tasking while using their smartphone or tablet
  • Just over half claim smartphones have improved their ability to complete personal tasks and errands more efficiently
  • Three-quarters say search engines such as Google are “an important part of their lives”.

While multi-tasking is hailed as a benefit, it’s a phenomenon of constant disruption combined with a fear of missing out.

She says social media is one of the likely causes of many people’s “addictions” as it represented one of the most popular online activities, with 69% of Australians accessing various social media platforms at least once a week.

Checking social media at work is admitted by 60%. Facebook remains the number one platform.

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