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Life changing or frustrating? New research looks into digital lifestyles

Digital device adoption is on the rise, despite performance frustrations and security concerns, according to a new report titled ‘State of Digital Lifestyles’.

The report, conducted  by edge cloud services provider Limelight Networks, shows that globally consumers overwhelmingly agree that online digital technology has positively impacted their lives, despite the issues around performance and security.

Digital assistants such as Amazon Alexa and Google Home are increasingly popular, with 28% of worldwide consumers owning one, up 47% in the last year, the report shows.

Although the use of digital assistants is growing, they are still not considered an essential tool by most consumers with more than 65% saying they would be willing to give them up for at least a week and 26% willing to stop using them permanently.

Comparatively, when asked how long they could stop using mobile phones, 48% of global consumers said they would be unable to stop using them for even one day, and only 7% would give them up permanently.

Despite this growing popularity, consumers are increasingly aware of security or lack thereof.

The growth of digital technology has created new concerns, with nearly half (46%) of worldwide consumers reporting they are more worried about personal information being stolen online than a year ago.

For digital assistants, 47% of global consumers expressed concerns about data privacy.

In addition to these findings, the report shows that consumers feel technology has had a positive impact on society, that people interact with digital media daily, that there are frustrations around accessing content and consumers are still enjoying offline experiences.

The overwhelming majority (80%) of global consumers say online digital technology has improved their lives. Notably, over one-third (35%) feel online digital technology has made a significant improvement in their lives.

As for consistency of interaction with digital media, 39% of global consumers listen to digital music and 33% download or watch movies and TV shows online.

Streaming has become the most common way to access digital media, with two-thirds choosing to stream movies and TV shows online rather than download or purchase physical copies and 58% streaming music online rather than downloading or purchasing CDs.

When it comes to accessing content, the vast majority (86%) of worldwide consumers express frustrations with accessing digital content online, but nearly three-quarters (72%) expect 5G networking will bring faster download speeds.

Consumer awareness of 5G networking varies from a high of 97% in South Korea to a low of 71% in Japan.

According to the report, despite the growth in online activities, retail stores and movie theaters remain popular with consumers.

Nearly half of global consumers (49%) still prefer to shop at a physical retail store rather than online, and more than one-third (39%) would rather watch a movie in a theater instead of online or on TV.

Limelight Networks senior director Michael Milligan says, “With the rapid growth of online content and new devices available to access it, digital media is playing an increasingly important role in our daily lives.”

“Our research reveals consumer expectations for high-quality digital experiences continue to rise, along with concerns about online security and unauthorised access to personal information.

"To increase customer loyalty and maximise revenue opportunities, digital content providers and device manufacturers must ensure their content distribution platforms and devices utilise a secure infrastructure that safeguards customer data while delivering a consistently fast and reliable user experience,” says Milligan.

The State of Digital Lifestyles report is based on responses from 4,500 consumers age 18 and older who had downloaded software or streamed online video or music during the last month.