In the face of climate change, about 72 per cent of early technology adopters consulted by Ericsson for research foresee use of digital technology bypassing environmental restrictions for personal short-term gain. This, it said, is a big warning about continued importance of focusing on reliability of services.

The statistic is included in the latest annual 10 Hot Consumer Trends research from Ericsson ConsumerLab, this year called ‘Life in a Climate-Impacted Future.’ Some 83 per cent of respondents believe the world will have reached, or surpassed, the 1.5℃ rate of warming that opens up the planet to more extreme weather events and negative climate consequences.

Practice use of internet

Almost 99 per cent say they expect to proactively use the internet and connectivity-based solutions by 2030 to personally address climate change and global warming impact. At least 55 per cent of early tech adopters are concerned about cost of living, access to energy and material resources and need for safe and reliable connectivity in turbulent times and chaotic weather.

Magnus Frodigh, Head of Ericsson Research, said consumers are clearly saying reliable and resilient internet connection will be of utmost importance to daily lives and efforts to address climate change.  Strict time schedules may become a thing of the past as climate regulations and energy efficiency change the meaning of flexibility. About 68 per cent of respondents would plan activities using schedulers that optimise based on energy cost, not time efficiency.

Move away from ‘clock time’

Of the 10 identified trends, the ‘No-Rush Mobility’ signals the move away from ‘clock time’, such as the ‘traditional’ nine-to-five working day and routines. A society organised around energy use peaks and troughs, rather than clock-time, could become common.  Respondents also expect the role of AI to extend into consumer behaviour - as outlined in the Less Is More Digital trend - to, for instance, help shoppers reduce material consumption by using digital alternatives to physical products. Digital product replacements may become status markers as physical overconsumption get both expensive and socially criticised. 

Smart water services

Another trend related to Smart Water. Water use could change dramatically, if rationing becomes much more widespread. As freshwater becomes scarcer, consumers anticipate smarter water services to conserve and reuse water. Almost half of urban early adopters say their household will use smart water catchers on roofs, balconies and windows that intelligently open when it is raining to catch rainwater.

Climate Cheaters trend 

Some 64 per cent of respondents foresee digitally regulated monthly water allowances for all citizens by the 2030s, co-author Sara Thorson, Head of Concept Development, Ericsson ConsumerLab, said. Michael Björn, Head of Research Agenda, says The Climate Cheaters trend could see cheats avoiding compliance obligations related to climate impact regulations, perhaps such as paying a bill or recording data. consumers will find ways to bypass stricter environmental restrictions due to higher prices and energy and water rationing. Over half of urban early adopters predict online hacking apps will enable people to tap into neighbours’ water or electricity supply illicitly.