Cisco App Attention Index reveals UAE consumer fury

Brands fail to deliver seamless digital experiences


Somshankar Bandyopadhyay

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While the use of digital services and applications reached new heights during the pandemic, consumer demand for applications has only continued to increase. — Reuters file
While the use of digital services and applications reached new heights during the pandemic, consumer demand for applications has only continued to increase. — Reuters file

Published: Wed 22 Nov 2023, 4:45 PM

An astounding 97 per cent of consumers in the UAE have reported experiencing performance issues when using applications over the past 12 months, a survey showed on Wednesday.

Cisco on Wednesday launched the latest report in its App Attention Index research series, revealing escalating consumer expectations for digital experience and increased pressure on brand owners to optimize application performance and security. The global study, which examined the digital behaviour of more than 15,000 global consumers — including 1,005 in the UAE — also revealed the emergence of a new breed of application user that is more empowered, sophisticated, and demanding in its use of digital services.

While the use of digital services and applications reached new heights during the pandemic, consumer demand for applications has only continued to increase. As consumers enjoy ever more intuitive and personalized digital experiences, their demands on applications have reached an all-time high, with 71 per cent in the UAE reporting that their expectations for digital experiences are far higher now than they were two years ago (the height of the pandemic), while 74 per cent state they now expect brands to deliver an exceptional digital experience as standard.

Globally, Cisco’s study has found UAE consumers to be the most selective about the applications they use, and the most conscious about the time they spend engaging with digital services. Compared to their global peers, the nation’s consumers think harder before installing new applications, evaluating current providers, and ridding themselves of a sense of ‘application clutter’ by culling applications that fail to meet the grade.

Today’s app users in the UAE have zero tolerance for poor digital performance and when things don’t work as they should, their reactions have become extreme.

Other key findings are as follows —

• 65 per cent indicate they feel disrespected by brands whose applications don’t meet their expectations.

• 71 per cent are less forgiving of brands when problems occur.

• 80 per cent have stopped using or deleted applications because of performance issues over the last 12 months.

• 77 per cent (compared to global average of 68 per cent) are keen to get rid of application clutter (applications they don’t use enough or value anymore).

• 80 per cent (a whole 18 percentage points higher than global average) are looking to control or limit the number of applications they are using or that they have on their device.

• 64 per cent (globally 54 per cent) have deleted more applications than they have installed over the last 12 months.

“It’s a critical time for brands — invest in your application experience, or risk losing customers,” said Ronak Desai, senior vice president and general manager, Cisco Full-Stack Observability and AppDynamics. “Good performance is no longer enough; consumers expect only the best from their applications, and any single issue could be a reputation and revenue killer. At Cisco, we’re well aware of this, and we’re committed to helping organisations stay ahead by proactively optimising their digital experiences and keep their customers happy.”

The rise of the application generation

These shifts in behaviour and attitudes towards application experience are even more prevalent in a new cohort of application users: ‘The Application Generation.’ Aged 18-34, this group has relied on applications like no generation before, having used them to navigate the pandemic and today, to live and thrive in a hybrid world.

In addition to being heavier users of applications across every area of their lives (globally on average consumers under 35 years of age use 41 different applications each month, compared to 30 amongst people aged 35 and above), The application generation are far more discerning about the quality of the applications they use, with 77 per cent claiming to be more mindful about the applications they install on their devices and 64 per cent stating that they only want to use the very best applications and digital services. They are constantly evaluating the relevance and value — or otherwise — of the brands they engage with and the digital services they provide.

This unique group report being tired of poorly performing applications and frustrating digital experiences. A worrying trend for application owners, The Application Generation are voting with their thumbs — ditching applications that let them down and walking away from brands that don’t meet their digital experience expectations. What’s more, they are not shy about sharing their frustrations. 70 per cent are more likely to tell others or warn people off applications that don’t perform than they were 12 months ago.

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