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1 in 10 UK Consumers Would Choose Online Services Over Their Families This Christmas

A new study of 2,000 UK consumers by Sungard Availability Services (Sungard AS) has revealed more than one in ten (17%) would sacrifice spending the festive season with family or friends to ensure all the online services they currently use remain constantly available. The figures rise to one in five men (20%) and nearly a quarter of 16-24-year olds (22%) demonstrating the nation’s reliance on digital availability in 2020.

Findings from the new study highlight that UK households expect to be most reliant on online grocery deliveries (22%), entertainment streaming (21%) and online retailers (21%) over the holiday period. And aside from giving up time with friends and family, men appear more tied to digital experiences, with 34% prepared to forego a month’s worth of chocolate consumption (compared to 32% of women) and 12% happy to lose a day’s wages to ensure access (compared to 10% of women).

With digital availability having a huge impact on both human relationships and mental wellbeing for consumers in 2020, the study also sheds light on the consequences of accessibility suddenly being removed:

  • Half (49%) of respondents believe their mental wellbeing would suffer if they were left unable to access online services over the holidays for 48 hours.
  • Over a third (35%) stated a relationship with a partner would suffer if they were left unable to access online services for 48 hours, with 6% admitting this would suffer in less than an hour.
  • In 7% of cases, mental wellbeing would suffer in less than an hour, rising to 12% amongst 16-24-year olds

As many businesses continue to struggle, looking to online offerings to make the most of what is usually a golden quarter, results from the study show ‘access to services whenever I need them’ charts as a top consideration for future purchases amongst consumers in over a third of cases (37%). Tolerance of downtime is low too, with 15% of respondents stating they would switch provider after only one day if left unable to access a service.

“The message to businesses this festive season is clear – stay available or risk valuable customers going elsewhere,” said Chris Huggett, SVP EMEA at Sungard Availability Services. “An uncertain year looks set to end in an uncertain way, with a patchwork of restrictions likely to remain in place for some time. Consumers have been highly reliant on technology to help them cope in 2020 and this looks set to continue in the weeks ahead. Companies must ensure availability is front of mind. It’s the only way to safeguard services and ensure crucial opportunities amongst captive audiences aren’t jeopardised, at a crucial time of the year where every penny counts.”

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