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January 08, 2009

Despite Recession, 97 Percent of Consumers to Keep Using Internet at Home

Despite a projected year-over-year decrease in the rate of new high-speed Internet subscribers in 2009, about 97 percent of consumers say they’re unwilling to stop using the Web from home, according to an international technology consulting firm’s new survey.

Officials at Accenture said today that their survey of 3,000 U.S. citizens also found that 92 percent of respondents are unwilling to stop using cable or satellite TV, and 90 percent of respondents are unwilling to stop using mobile phone services.
Not all the news was good, however.
“The survey also revealed that because of the global economic downturn, 56 percent of consumers have become less willing to pay a premium price for environmentally friendly consumer electronics,” company officials say, “and 44 percent of consumers said they are still willing to pay a ‘green’ price premium.”
It isn’t clear just how long the recession will last or how it will alter the technology landscape.
As TMCnet reported, in one disheartening vision of the slower economy’s potential reach, growth among high-speed Internet subscribers in the United States is expected to drop by 12 percent this year compared to last, according to new forecast from a Silver Spring, Maryland-based market research publisher.
Officials at Pike & Fischer say the figure represents about 5.7 million new customers, bringing the nation’s total to 74.5 million.
The slowdown is due to the economic crisis, which has raised unemployment while slowing down new housing. According to Scott Sleek (News - Alert), director of the firm’s broadband advisory services, consumers will have less money to spend on discretionary IT services such as high-speed connections.
Yet customer growth could expand if President-elect Barack Obama’s administration successfully expands broadband availability, Sleek said.
“Government initiatives, such as tax incentives and loan guarantees to help expand broadband infrastructure into underserved areas, could enable service providers to bolster their customer counts,” Sleek said. “In addition, policy-makers are likely to support training and education programs aimed at increasing customer adoption of broadband. These steps could offset what will be an inevitable slowdown in subscriber growth.”
Accenture (News - Alert), which is releasing its survey at this week’s International Consumer Electronics Show, also are putting out a report that describes the recession of 1990-91 and describes seven ways that CE companies can navigate the economy.
When the last recession hit, Accenture’s report says, companies that proactively invested in core capabilities, assets and innovation, while reducing expenses in non-core areas, actually emerged in a much stronger position than those that simply reduced costs and waited for better times.
“Accenture’s ongoing High-Performance Business research found that a distinctive trait of high-performance business is the ability to proactively use a downturn,” the company said.
Seven strategies to do so include: Strategically Cutting Costs; Sharpening Customer Focus; Driving Operational Excellence Globally; Acquiring Key Capabilities and Assets; Investing in Innovation; Maintaining Pricing Discipline; and Focusing on Specific Market Segments.

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Michael Dinan is a contributing editor for TMCnet, covering news in the IP communications, call center and customer relationship management industries. To read more of Michael's articles, please visit his columnist page.

Edited by Michael Dinan

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