2nd August 2023

#ID Culture: Digital Literacy and Empowerment - Are We Ready for the Big Leap?

Our latest #ID Culture report explores what digital literacy and empowerment mean in today’s world and how people feel about their digital literacy.

The unprecedented political, economic, social, cultural, and technological changes the world has experienced in recent years are having a profound impact on people’s mindsets. This global sense of uncertainty, is driving people to adapt and empower themselves to take more control of their lives, using everything at their disposal. This mindset shift is creating more open and self-reliant behaviours, which is impacting people’s consumption decision making and the way they engage with brands and media.

And with ground-breaking technologies gaining momentum, the question is What does digital literacy and empowerment mean in today’s world?  And are consumers digitally literate and ready for the big technological leap?

People are eagerly exploring the potential of generative artificial intelligence, like ChatGPT, to revolutionize learning and content creation. Additionally, they are interested in the potential benefits of virtual worlds, such as the metaverse, which uses digital currencies and assets to create a complete ecosystem. These technologies are driving us into a new era, enabling consumers to navigate a more technologically advanced future and empower themselves.

However, despite the ubiquity of internet and devices, there is a divide across the world due to infrastructure, economy, and social inequalities. Mindshare research shows that 1 in 2 people globally say the lack of digital resources is more significant in an economic crisis.

Digital literacy and empowerment are key for consumers to navigate uncertainty and the economic crisis.

In the face of rising inflation and challenging financial conditions for people across the world, digital empowerment becomes crucial for consumers to navigate the crisis successfully and acquire the knowledge and skills needed to progress.

  • 57% of people can't imagine a world without the commodities that digital technologies bring to our lives.
  • 56% say the use of digital technologies makes them feel more confident and in control over their life in these uncertain times.
  • 65% say digital technologies, knowledge and access should be democratised and be free for our society to progress.

From this perspective, there is a role for brands to support and develop digital experiences to empower consumers and improve their lives.

When we look at the more advanced digital technologies in the market, the Metaverse (39%), Blockchain (39%) and NFT (38%) are the least known amongst the global population who have access to digital and online resources. More than half have knowledge about Digital Wallets (65%) and Artificial Intelligence (56%).

The main barriers to using advance technologies are not having enough information or education (50%) followed by being too complicated or advanced for them (33%), butalso there are ethical concerns with 68% saying these technologies should be regulated to avoid misuse and harmful practices.

Mindshare's research identified 5 key consumer mindsets around the use of new technologies, and how it can empower them.

1. Entertainment Beyond This World

There’s a desire for escapism from troubling realities and the market providing these experiences will continue to grow – 50% say they look for content that helps me escape reality, and consumers are recognising that entertainment using immersive technologies can provide this escapism.

Virtual entertainment experiences have been taken to another level creating a new end-to-end virtual ecosystem. 54% of people say immersive content is appealing to them and they plan to use it in the future, 55% need to keep up with the latest technologies (e.g., VR/AR, AI) to enjoy new content, and 52% think the idea of using virtual currency (i.e., Bitcoin) for virtual entertainment is not too futuristic.

However, with uptake slow, people still believe these are niche experiences – 57% say immersive technology such as the Metaverse or VR are a cultural hype and are not for everyone.

2. New Dimensions of Social Interaction

Virtual interactions allow people to freely express themselves without the pressure that may exist in the physical world, providing a wider sense of curiosity and exploration – 56% say the virtual world allows meeting and engaging with people without having any expectation and 51% say the idea of making friends in virtual worlds is easier than face to face.

But at the same time, virtual worlds are becoming more realistic allowing consumers to get increasingly detailed with their visual identity-building – 48% say the use of avatars allows people to be more authentic when engaging in the virtual world.

New technologies enabling new ways of interactions in virtual worlds such as the Metaverse, can improve people’s sense of self-worth and self-esteem, with 56% saying they are making it easier for people to tackle loneliness.

3. Enhanced Learning Experiences

Digital literacy gives people the resources to educate themselves and have more control of their lives. 68% say digital technologies empowers people to find information and educate themselves and 63% say it allows them to be more independent.

Immersive and technologically powered learning is the future and is already impacting education, with 61% believing education will move into the virtual world in the future.  

62% say these technologies are democratising education and knowledge. Open AI access can benefit many aspects of people’s lives but at the same time inaccuracy of information can be a damaging, so harnessing ethical AI usage is key.

4. Next Generation of Lifestyle and Shopping

Virtual technologies are enabling people to meet their rising demand for experiential engagement – the use of augmented or virtual reality to try products seems like a fun experience (59%), the idea of using VR to experience different destinations is appealing (58%), the idea of using AR to try different clothes will save me time (56%).

AI can help consumers make the best decisions and choices through their purchase journey (48% are prepared to exchange their personal information online for a more personalised consumer experience), make it more convenient (65% want brands to understand them and offer them a personalised experience without wasting their time), and more meaningful and inclusive (59% are more likely to purchase from a brand if it delivers a personalised experience,  72% say that brands need to do more to make products/services more accessible to those who have a disability (e.g. Braille, large-print text).

5.  Financial Power & Control

The rise of fintech has the potential to reduce the digital divide when it comes to financial empowerment - 82% say it's important to be financially literate/educated and 72% I feel confident making transactions online.

As digital wallets are increasing in popularity (54% use their digital wallet more than their physical wallet) consumers are willing to embrace other financial solutions driven by digital tech to have more control over their money with 63% saying finance apps are helpful to track spending and better manage finances.

As consumers are cutting down with non-essential spending due to the cost of living rising (36% of consumers say they are following tips on a “no buy year” from influencers on social media), consumers are expecting brands to support them - 67% agree that brands should help consumers spend wisely, and 56% said all brands should have instalment payment options (BNPL) to be inclusive of those struggling financially.

What’s is the implication for brands? A digitally empowered audience-base represents more valuable consumers, with more spending power. Brands should see this as an opportunity for good growth. Digital literacy and empowerment are vital for societal progress, in turn, shaping consumers' interactions with brands. Brands have a role in supporting and developing digital experiences to empower consumers, enhance their lives, and establish meaningful connections.

Get the full infographic here

Source: #ID Culture, Digital Literacy & Empowerment (Mindshare Global Tracker Survey, Wave 1, 2023 – 10 markets – 18 -44 target base).

For more information please contact: [email protected], [email protected]

Mindshare Global
    Mindshare Global