Consumers want what techies have

New Zealand’s small group of ‘technology evangelists’ have the ability to powerfully influence the technology buying decisions of more than a third of Kiwi consumers – making them a critical target market for vendors.

According to IDC’s 2011 ConsumerScape 360 study, just eight percent of New Zealand techies influence the decisions of 35 percent of consumers, highlighting the power of word of mouth in the New Zealand.

“New Zealanders consumers are highly pragmatic and price-sensitive purchasers of technology, making decisions based on need rather than desire.

However our survey shows that a significant percentage are influenced by the ‘technology evangelists’ in their buying decisions. In a market of expanding device types and thinning margins, the ability to target a certain group of consumers and reap wider benefits is a silver lining that many companies would be looking to take advantage of” said IDC’s Liam Gunson .

IDC’s new ConsumerScape 360 practice surveyed more than 1,000 New Zealand households to identify the current use, purchase intentions and brand perceptions across the consumer electronics and IT segments. The study identified six key consumer types based on their attitudes towards technology devices. These segments were, tech evangelists, impulse buyers, experiential adopters, pragmatic purchasers, green buyers, and disengaged functionalists.

While only a small portion of the market, 13 percent, the tech evangelists hold a high degree of interest and knowledge regarding technology, make considered purchase decisions, and have a tendency to be sought out by friends, family members and colleagues, for advice.

“The advice-giving nature of these consumers makes them a key target for word of mouth and viral marketing, given their strong preference for social media over traditional media. It also makes them a strong indicator into what technologies have a higher likelihood of becoming mainstream,” said Gunson.

As an example of this, the survey revealed technology evangelists are five times more likely to purchase tablet computers over netbooks, while other consumer categories are on average twice as likely to favour tablets.

“Adoption of tablets in New Zealand is still at an early stage with an increasing breadth of device options being introduced into the market. However this survey shows tablet computers are a key growth sector, complementing use of laptops but potentially replacing netbooks – a trend we believe technology evangelists will influence.”. Gunson says.

The ConsumerScape 360 study is run annually with the 2012 refresh scheduled for early 2012.

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