According to Oprah, astrologer Jean Dixon predicted her rise to fame and fortune back in 1977. That may have been a given, but Dixon also predicted the assassination of JFK. To get an idea of what customer experience might look like in the aftermath of COVID-19, analytics software company SAS recently partnered with Futurum Research to get an idea of the next decade.

Smart Tech Will Remain King

If anything, the pandemic increased the popularity and reliance of digital technology among all generations. In its study, researchers talked with more than 4,000 consumers, marketers, tech pros and executives, and came away with some interesting discoveries.
They found that not only did 60% of homes have at least one smart device but that 35% had two or more. They further reported that 37% of homes had three or more mobile phones with another 39% having purchased an augmented or VR device. 45% said they intended to purchase or add more by 2025. And while only 13% said they owned three or more wearable devices, 53% said they expected to invest in more by 2025 and 29% use three or more payment or banking apps. What do these findings mean?

Mobile Phones

Experts see mobile phone use increasing through 2030. Many consumers relied on their phones to search and make purchases during the pandemic and brands need to gear up right now with mobile-first and mobile-only strategies to reach this growing audience.

Wearable Devices

Gym and fitness center shutdowns during the pandemic increased the popularity of wearable devices, especially fitness trackers. Brands have a tremendous opportunity to interact with this public and engage them while also gathering valuable data. Smartwatches also saw growing appeal and the study reported that 78% of participants expected to control other devices with their wearables.

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AI-Infused Technology

Although consumers in North America trail their counterparts in Asia in using smart assistants, 80% said they expected to invest in and use them by 2030. 35% reported using two or more right now. Brands that get in on the ground floor with consumers now will have a huge advantage in not only offering product information and recommendations, but also in collecting and analyzing customer data to better tailor future customer communications.

Personal Finances

Despite the 29% usage rate by consumers, the study also found that 45% expected to increase their usage within the next five years. Managing personal finances, especially during times like a pandemic is expected to become an increasingly important part of life for more consumers. Brands can prepare for this by building stronger bridges of trust between them and their customers.


Both AR and VR could become the next technological tsunami. These could accelerate more quickly if some forecasts are correct and more consumers decide to shop from home rather than visit their local mall in search of things like clothing. Brands can prepare for this by creating new content and enhanced media.

Getting Ready

Some brands may need to reassess their budgets with a new focus and attention on investing more in technology that serves and engages customers on their mobile devices. Utilizing AI to understand consumer responses in real time so issues can be managed sooner than later may become another priority, as well as providing timely engagement solutions and recommendations.

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Ronn Torossian is the founder and CEO of 5W Public Relations, one of the largest independently-owned PR firms in the United States. With over 20 years of experience crafting and executing powerful narratives, Torossian is one of America's most prolific and well-respected Public Relations professionals. Since founding 5WPR in 2003, he has led the company's growth, overseeing more than 175 professionals in the company's headquarters in midtown Manhattan. With clients spanning corporate, technology, consumer and crisis, in addition to digital marketing and public affairs capabilities, 5WPR is regularly recognized as an industry leader and has been named "PR Agency of the Year" by the American Business Awards on multiple occasions. Throughout his career, Torossian has worked with some of the world's most visible companies, brands and organizations. His strategic, resourceful approach has been recognized with numerous awards including being named the Stevie American Business Awards 2020 Entrepreneur of the Year, the American Business Awards PR Executive of the Year, twice over, an Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year semi-finalist, Metropolitan Magazine's Most Influential New Yorker, and a 2020 Top Crisis Communications Professional by Business Insider. Torossian is known as one of the country's foremost experts on crisis communications, and is called on to counsel blue chip companies, top business executives and entrepreneurs both in the United States and worldwide. Torossian has lectured on crisis PR at Harvard Business School, appears regularly on CNN & CNBC, was named to PR Week's "40 under Forty" list, is a contributing columnist for Forbes and the New York Observer, and his book, "For Immediate Release: Shape Minds, Build Brands, and Deliver Results With Game-Changing Public Relations" is an industry best-seller. A NYC native, Torossian lives in Manhattan with his children. He is a member of Young Presidents Organization (YPO), and active in numerous charities.