The Application Generation is fed up as digital disruption rises across the world

Over the past two years, a new type of application user has emerged, one that is more sophisticated and demanding in its use of applications and digital services. And for organizations in many industries, this could bring serious trouble.

The ‘Application Generation’ seeks the most innovative, intuitive, and secure digital experiences, eagerly adopting applications that can simplify and enrich their lives. But they’re becoming increasingly perplexed and frustrated with the standard of digital experiences being delivered by many brands. While their expectations for digital services are rising, they encounter increasing problems when using applications.

Cisco’s research, The App Attention Index 2023: Beware the Application Generation, introduces the Application Generation, a new cohort of global consumers ages 18 to 34 who are changing the parameters of what a digital experience needs to be.

Consumers’ expectations for digital experiences skyrocket

According to global research of more than 15,000 consumers, the appetite for applications and digital services has remained strong in the two years since the pandemic. However, today’s consumers feel they have more control of the applications they use and are more empowered to seek out alternatives when faced with poor experiences. 

During the pandemic, applications and digital services were a lifeline for many. With enforced lockdowns, there was only one option other than to use digital services to shop, access essential services, and catch up with friends. Today, things are back to normal. People can once again meet up face to face, shop in stores, and visit offices and bank branches. They have a choice again, impacting how they engage with digital services.

62% of consumers state their expectations for digital experiences are far higher now than two years ago. Additionally, 53% feel that some of the applications they relied on during the pandemic need to meet their expectations for digital experience. What was good enough during the pandemic no longer cuts it. 

Consumers encountering more bad digital experiences

Alarmingly, while expectations for seamless digital experiences have reached new heights, as many as 94% of the Application Generation report they have experienced performance issues when using digital services over the past 12 months. This figure is up from 83% of consumers in 2021 when the App Attention Index was last published. 

Significantly, 64% of consumers report they are now less forgiving of poor digital experiences. For many people, it’s a matter of respect, and they see brands whose applications don’t perform appropriately as displaying complete disdain for them.

This explains why consumers are now so passionate about poor digital experiences. People are deleting applications at an unprecedented rate, with a staggering 77% of consumers reporting they have stopped using digital services or deleted applications from their devices due to performance issues over the last 12 months. For the Application Generation, the number of applications deleted due to bad digital experiences in the past year is as high as seven.

Across all demographics, consumers feel more empowered in their use of digital services, and they don’t think twice about deleting an application that lets them down and switching to a competitor brand’s digital offering. 

In addition to banishing poorly performing applications, consumers are also becoming far more vocal when they encounter issues—67% claim that they are now more likely to warn people of applications that don’t perform than they were 12 months ago. 

Application observability is critical for brands to avoid consumer outrage

Application owners need to consistently deliver seamless and secure digital experiences to retain and attract customers through their digital services. But this is easier said than done for organizations in many industries. Rapid digital transformation has left their IT teams struggling to manage a highly dynamic and dispersed application landscape. Many don’t have complete visibility into cloud-native technologies, making it almost impossible to detect and fix issues before they impact end users.

Application observability provides a solution to this critical and growing challenge. It provides IT teams with full and unified visibility across their hybrid environments so that they can rapidly detect issues and understand their root causes. Additionally, by correlating application availability, performance, and security data with key business metrics, teams can prioritize those issues that can do the most damage to the digital experience. 

Application owners need to recognize that they can’t afford to maintain current disruption and downtime to their applications and digital services. The Application Generation will not tolerate anything less than the very best, most seamless, and most secure digital experiences. 

Joe Byrne is the CTO Advisor at Cisco Observability. 

Image Source: Freepik

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