- Marketers face a growing backlash against technology — or "techlash" — with 80% of Americans and 62% of Chinese consumers saying in a survey that they fear the loss of privacy. Marketers are showing a "digital disconnect" from consumers by not taking their concerns about technology seriously enough, according to a study the American Marketing Association New York shared with Marketing Dive.
- Eighty-five percent of Americans and 65% of Chinese consumers said they're concerned that fake social media accounts, falsehoods, hackers and bots will mislead consumers. Among marketers, 74% in the U.S. and 37% in China said consumers will be troubled by misleading online information, indicating they "seriously underestimate" consumer concerns, according to the AMA New York.
- U.S. consumers said they expect their use of social media to decline in the next three years, while 68% of advertisers said they likely will spend more money on the platforms. Consumers also expect to spend less time on online gaming, but 25% of advertisers anticipate spending more on the media category, per the AMA New York. Sixty-five percent of Americans and 51% of Chinese consumers fear that personal isolation and depression will get worse as online and social media marketing grow, the survey found.
The AMA New York's wide-ranging survey about attitudes toward technology has a variety of insights that marketers should consider in developing strategies to connect with consumers. Americans tend to be more wary of marketing technology than Chinese consumers, but a sizable majority of both groups worry about privacy and misleading online information.
"When it comes to the growing intersection of the Internet of Things (IoT), adtech, and artificial intelligence (AI), marketers must amplify brand trust and become unmatched champions of consumer privacy," Karen McFarlane, president of the AMA New York, said in a statement. She also said that economic nationalism has become more prevalent in the U.S. and China amid an ongoing trade dispute that poses an additional challenge to marketers.
When it comes to marketing technologies and methods, Americans expressed unfavorable attitudes toward personalized ads based on big data (55% unfavorable to 35% favorable), IoT connected devices in the home (50% to 37%), microinfluencers (43% to 29%), employees as influencers (42% to 32%) and augmented reality (AR) (43% to 36%). Consumers were more favorable to virtual reality (VR), AI and omnichannel innovations, suggesting they prefer technologies they could use voluntarily, per AMA New York.
Consumers split almost evenly on smart speakers — showing a 44% favorable to 42% unfavorable rating — although 52% said they have no intention of buying one. That leaves 11% of U.S. consumers who lack a smart speaker and want to buy one. The finding suggests that Amazon, Google and Apple — the leading makers of smart speakers — have diminished prospects for selling the devices unless they can demonstrate the advantages to owning one, especially amid consumer concerns about privacy. A separate survey by researcher GfK found that only 8% of consumers have shopped with a smart speaker and plan to do it again, while 36% have never used the voice-powered devices for purchases and don't plan to. Another 8% have tried voice shopping, but won't do it again, the survey found.
Chinese consumers have a positive impression of adtech innovations measured in the study, with IoT (81% favorable), smart speakers (79%), AI assistants (71%) and VR (67%) ranking as the highest. American brands are well liked in China, with 68% of consumers viewing them favorably. The U.S.-China trade dispute has pushed 75% of Chinese consumers to say they are more likely to buy Chinese products than they were last year, while 13% of Chinese consumers are less willing to buy American products, the survey found. Such economic nationalism presents a significant hurdle for brands from each country that isn't likely to disappear until a new trade deal is hammered out.