The respondents in emerging markets are more likely to own mobile technologies, to buy such products in the near future and to use all of the products' functionality. They are also more than twice as likely (64 percent vs. 29 percent) to say their mobile phone or smartphone is their most important technology. And they prefer their mobile phone service to their home Internet service for connecting to the Web (54 percent vs. 22 percent).
The mature-market respondents have grown up with the computer. Even though they have also enthusiastically embraced mobile devices, the computer is still the center of their technological universe. That mindset will change, but gradually. Those who have grown up in countries like China or Malaysia don't carry "technological mindset baggage." They are beginning their consumer technology experience with the newest, most mobile devices, services and apps.
How these consumer technologies are used illustrates another interesting chasm between the two markets. With a greater desire for all kinds of technology, emerging-market respondents take full advantage of the activities available on any one device. The net result is that the breadth of technology use appears to be much greater. Web-enabled mobile devices are owned by 42 percent of emerging-country respondents. Only 17 percent of mature-country respondents said that their mobile devices were Web-enabled. This contrast is especially striking when comparing Far East market powerhouses China and Japan. Fifty-nine percent of Chinese respondents use their mobile devices to connect to the Web. Only 7 percent of Japanese respondents made the same claim.
Both groups of respondents agreed that innovation is a primary driver of purchasing decisions, but the emerging-market respondents found innovation a more convincing argument for a product purchase (94 percent vs. 82 percent).
One of the most surprising findings in the research involves sustainability. Respondents in emerging markets were far more likely than their mature-market counterparts to say they would pay a premium for products that are environmentally friendly.
Consumer technology companies that wish to prosper in this changing world need to recognize the new order.
Jean-Laurent Poitou is global managing director of Accenture's Electronics and High-Tech Business.