Some 41% of UK consumers are suffering from digital fatigue, actively seeking time away from their smartphones and other Internet-enabled devices.

According to a new survey produced by EY, the figure increases for 18-25 year olds (45%) and 25-34 year olds (50%).

Despite this, the survey of 2,500 UK consumers also found that more than half of UK households (56%) spend more time on the Internet than watching TV – up from 49% in 2016.

Additionally, 45% of those surveyed said the Internet was very important in terms of working or running a business from home. The figure increased from 41% in 2016.

Some 49% of participants said they were familiar with the features and benefits of smart home products, but the results evidenced that consumers are less excited about new gadgets than before.

Only 29% of households said they were ‘very interested in new gadgets and tended to buy them before anyone else’, compared to 34% in 2016.

Unsurprisingly, consumers also expressed concerns around data privacy and security. Almost three quarters (71%) of participants said they were cautious about disclosing financial and personal information online even if they used a known and trusted site.

Praveen Shankar, partner and telecommunications sector leader at EY commented on the findings: “Households are enjoying unprecedented levels of connectivity, transforming their social and home lives as well as their viewing and working habits. This is driving major changes in what they consume and how they do so. However, companies need to focus on allaying customers’ doubts about trust and privacy in order to maintain momentum and growth.”

Broadband perception

The survey results also highlighted how households in the UK perceived broadband.

Some 77% of those surveyed said it was now thought of as a utility like gas or electricity. With this in mind, 60% of consumers rated broadband reliability as being more important than speed.

The survey found that legacy services still have an important role to play for many households, with 40% saying they still using their landlines at least once a week. Almost half (46%) said they watched the five traditional channels on TV.

Adrian Baschnonga, global lead telecommunications analyst at EY added: “This year’s findings reveal that not all households are moving at the same speed towards a more digital world. Technology now permeates all aspects of our lives, yet higher levels of convenience are partnered by new sources of anxiety.

“Reliability and security are ever more important considerations for households. As a result, educating and reassuring customers will help build greater trust in the growing range of technology products and services for the home,” he concluded.

Check out the video above for more insight into EY’s Digital Homes report and changing consumer needs.