Mobile shopping.

Consumers are still on the fence about new technology. Intel’s newest report, “Next 50,” revealed that 40 percent of shoppers are apprehensive about digital advancements, believing that the tech will present as many hurdles as they will solutions.

“Emerging technologies have the potential to transform many aspects of our everyday life,” said Genevieve Bell, director of the 3A Institute, Florence Violet McKenzie chair and distinguished professor at the Australian National University, and a vice president and senior fellow at Intel. “Studies like this remind us about the diversity of human experience. When we talk about the future of innovation, we’re talking about a range of ideas, technologies and attitudes that will impact our lives in important ways.” 

The report was based off a survey conducted in tandem with PSB Research, which polled 1,000 U.S. consumers and “technology elites” — the latter characterized as 25 years or older, earning an income of more than $100,000 annually, and avid tech news followers.

Consumers viewed the future unknown as relatively daunting. “[Consumers] remain most excited about those that are most familiar. The survey revealed that consumers expect to rely most on smartphones [87 percent] in the future,” an Intel spokesman said. “Consumers also ranked PCs [84 percent] and smart home technology [84 percent] among the most important technologies in the next 50 years.”

This suggests to retailers and brands that while investing deeply in mobile-first technology is a necessity, it’s not an end-all-be-all strategy. “It’s hard to fathom going a day without using a computer or a smartphone, both of which will undoubtedly continue to evolve along with other technologies,” Bell added. “But newer, emerging technologies like artificial intelligence [AI] and 5G are abstract, and harder to grasp, likely leading to anxiety around what they may bring.”

Apprehensions mainly surrounded the potential to become dependent on technology. Fifty-six percent of survey participants said they were scared of losing touch with friends and family due to an over-reliance on technology.

Unsurprisingly, Millennials proved to be the most hopeful about what the next chapter of technology — specifically 5G — might provide. “Forty-five percent [of Millennials] said it will bring people closer together by helping them to always be connected, as opposed to 35 percent for those aged 35 and older,” the report said.

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