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Online Panels

By TLF Research

In Yorkshire they say ‘there’s nowt so queer as folk’! When you compare people’s attitudes towards gadgets and technology with their behaviours, I think they may be right!

A year for gadgets
What a great year for gadgets! 2011 saw cutting edge technology at its best. Technology is developing so fast it's hard to keep up with what gadgets are available and what advanced visions gadgets are in on the market.

Apple was extremely busy in 2011, starting the year with the launch of the iPad 2 and like most Apple products this caused a mass media frenzy of consumer interest. In the second half of 2011, the iPhone 4S was introduced with voice recognition and other improved features compared to its predecessor the iPhone 4. This resulted in Apple becoming the biggest smartphone supplier in the world with 35 million phones sold in Q4 alone, making the fourth biggest profit in corporate history, becoming the biggest company in the world by market capitalisation and accumulating a cash pile of almost $100 billion – more than the annual GDP of many countries!

As well as the iPhone 4s, lots of other great mobile phones hit the market, mainly based on Google’s Android operating system, such as the Samsung Galaxy S2, which many feel is superior to the iPhone and put Samsung just behind in second place with 34 million smartphones sold in Q4.

Amazon’s Kindle, other readers and tablets have caused a revolution in reading habits with e-books outselling paperbacks in the USA as long ago as February last year. The new Kindle Fire has accelerated this trend with Amazon selling 5 times as many e-books in the 2011 Christmas trading compared with a year earlier.

Microsoft’s Xbox has transformed family entertainment, especially with its Kinnect gesture recognition. Its competitors are struggling to keep up but Nintendo has introduced its 3DS, a handheld 3D console that doesn't require 3D glasses (a gaming first) and this year will see the launch of the Nintendo Wii U and Sony’s Playstation 4.

So gadgets are transforming our lives – but for better or worse? A recent YSP survey of 1,000 UK panellists produced some very mixed views. When it comes to the impact of gadgets on our relationships, people are split right down the middle, with half those expressing an opinion thinking they do and half that they don’t.

This follows through when you ask people to consider how their lives would be different without gadgets. Marginally over half envisaged a negative impact, with most of those simply saying they would feel out of touch but almost a quarter of respondents saying they would feel insecure, nervous or even ‘naked’! But almost half of us think life would be better. As well as better relationships, 6.6% thought they would ‘be a better person’ and 14% that they ‘would feel liberated’!

But this doesn’t explain how they behave. We nearly all take our phones and, often, other gadgets such as laptops or tablets, on holiday with us.

So why on earth do 97% of us take our gadgets on holiday – especially when 18% said we could survive for a week without our mobile phone or other gadgets and 22% that we’d be ok for a longer time? Is it because gadgets are addictive? Perhaps somebody should form Gadgets Anonymous!

Holiday of choice?
As we enter the holiday booking season, holiday firms have been aggressively advertising over the past few months, with one of the UK’s major holiday companies, First Choice, taking the milestone decision to provide only all-inclusive packages. It seems like a brave move. Your Say Pays recently surveyed 1,000 panellists about their 2012 holiday plans. Although the biggest segment is ‘an independently organised trip’, the second most popular (and biggest available segment for travel agents) was ‘an all-inclusive holiday’.

City breaks form a large and growing segment. People’s city of choice is emphatically New York, chosen by twice as many respondents (26%) than 2nd placed Rome, which was closely followed by Barcelona, Paris and Venice. What do they all have in common? ‘Lots of culture and history’, which 38% of respondents said makes the perfect city break, ‘great food and fine wine’ (30%) and ‘a good retail experience’ (20%).

So with 2012 seeing UK holiday makers likely to choose to holiday in sunnier climates, it was interesting to note that the survey results highlighted that it’s the country suffering from a major financial meltdown that Brits still love to visit with its beautiful islands, sandy beaches, deep blue sea and wonderful food. Greek islands such as Corfu, Kos, Rhodes and Crete are what 17.7% want to visit this year (followed by other hot places such as the Canaries, Cyprus and Sardinia). Holidaying in Greece might not be able to solve the Euro crisis this year but an all-inclusive main holiday to Greece could be people’s First Choice.

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