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Stability rules



→ Access to most devices are stable (laptop, smartTV, game consoles) or have slightly decreased (voice assisted speakers, tablets)

→ 35% of 18-24 year-olds have smartwatches and 22% have fitness bands

→ Battery life (39%), ease of use (34%), and storage capacity (27%) are the most important features when purchasing a smartphone

This year, access to most devices, such as laptops, smartTVs, and game consoles, remains stable, while access to voice assisted speakers and tablets has decreased slightly. We clearly see the softening of the previous year continuing, with the economic context affecting our habits.

Wearables are still on the rise with an increase of 6 percentage points from 2020. Men (28%) tend to have more access to smartwatches compared to women (22%). That said, smartwatches and fitness bands are most common among 18-24 year-olds.

Despite a small increase, overall adoption of Virtual Reality (VR) headsets is low. Companies like Meta and Apple will be releasing new devices that could boost impact on adoption in coming years.

Belgians are most interested in using their smartphone, wearable or other device to track the number of steps (47%), heartbeat (26%), and sleeping patterns (21%), implying that people are interested in monitoring their health. Men (29%) measure their heartbeat more often than women (23%), while women (51%) measure the number of steps more often than men (44%).

A third do not monitor any of the cited health metrics. Across all metrics, it is the 18-24 year-olds that monitor their health the most. As an example, it is this segment that most actively monitor their sleeping patterns, whereafter it takes a steady decline for the older segments.

For streaming, watching TV programmes, and watching live TV, the sole dominating device is unsurprisingly the television. Having the comfort of a large screen remains the main driver.

For the second group of activities comprised of online search, playing games and checking bank balance, consumers generally prefer their mobile. We are increasingly reaching for our smartphones to do online searches and check bank balances, thanks to the user-friendliness of apps in particular.

Interestingly, the laptop has become the most preferred device in 2023 for browsing shopping websites and making online purchases. This is mainly due to a change among 18–24 year-olds and female consumers.

As seen above, there is not much change versus last year in device access. However, when it comes to device daily usage, majority of devices are encountering a decline. Wireless speakers (-10 p.p), smart watch (-7% p.p) and eReader (-7% p.p) showing the biggest drops versus last year.

Overall, the smartphone and smart TV remain king in terms of usage, with respectively 95% and 75% using it on a daily basis. The smart watch, even experiencing a decline is still showing strong usage, with over 6 persons out of 10 using it daily.

Looking at the most important factor for phone purchase, battery life (39%) remains the most important factor for phone purchase, aside from price. This is no surprise, as gaming, social media and video are key features being energy-consuming. Ease of use (34%) and storage capacity (27%) are cited in second and third place, respectively

Interestingly, carbon footprint, ease of repair and use of recycled materials are at the bottom of the list, making sustainability one of the least important criteria when purchasing a phone. Our previous study showed the lack of awareness of digital pollution, potentially being one of the reasons of this lack of importance.

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