Many consumers are now "digital dependents"

A majority of consumers in some of the world's biggest markets are "digital dependents", who attach great importance both to the internet and their mobile phone, research by Synovate has revealed.

The company surveyed 8,600 people in 11 different countries, and found that 70% believed they "could not live without" or would "miss" the web, with 69% saying the same for television.

More specifically, 92% of respondents in the UK regarded the internet as being "necessary" to their lives, a figure that reached 91% in Spain, 90% in Australia, and 89% in the Netherlands and the US.

Over all the countries assessed, a majority of people afforded a similar status to their cellphone, a perception on a high of 70% in China and a low of 46% in Canada.

Print media was most popular in Latin America and Asia, with a third of Chinese consumers relying on newspapers, and 16% on magazines.

When the number of participants that felt they "could not live without" newspapers were added to those arguing "they would miss it a great deal", this total stood at 55% in China, and 53% in Hong Kong and India.

Spain delivered a score of 35% on this measure, but 40% of the sample in Taiwan – as well as 34% in the UK and 32% in the US – reported they could "easily" cope without this form of media.

A third of Brazilians said radio was of fundamental importance, as did 19% of Americans and 18% of Australians, compared with 51% of Taiwanese contributors suggesting the opposite, with 40% of people in China and 37% in Hong Kong of the same opinion.


Some 87% of people have attempted to avoid broadcast advertising either by turning off their television or radio, switching channel or station, or using PVR technology to fast-forward TV spots.

More than two-thirds of the panel stated there were too many ads on TV, peaking at over 80% in Spain and the Netherlands, with 39% also agreeing with this proposition for the internet, including 56% of Americans.

A further 42% would prefer to be exposed ads that were more relevant to their interests – rising to 59% in India and 56% in Spain, and falling to 36% in the UK and 35% in the US – while 27% opposed this view for privacy reasons.

For mobile, half of the cohort in Hong Kong and Taiwan said this channel was cluttered with commercial communications, as did 44% in China and 42% in Spain, a position held by just 16% of Canadian and Dutch adults.

However, 70% of people had discussed at least one advertising campaign with their friends, while 43% had searched for an ad using the web, and 30% had promoted a brand or an ad on a social network.

Data sourced from Synovate

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