Widespread access to the internet and the new technologies that are built upon it are making powerful new approaches to consumer empowerment possible. We are seeing extraordinary advances in our ability to communicate with each other, that will have a more profound and transformative effect on society and the economy than previous advances in communications technology. This is primarily because it enables many-to-many communication at a mass scale for the first time in human history. As a result were not only able to do the same things better, we’re able to do things differently and in powerful new ways. In particular, these technological developments such as social networks and peer-to-peer networks are enabling consumers to act in more demanding, better informed and increasingly empowered ways.
With consumers becoming better connected and thus more powerful in the marketplace, they are changing the behaviour of producers and providers as well as altering the dynamics of markets. The barriers to consumers participating in this changed environment are collapsing and we are seeing consumers forming their own networks and taking part in co-operation, collaboration and collective action.
Most observers would say that these new technologies have brought significant benefits to consumers. However, these technologies can also present real and potential downsides too. There has been less focus on what the potential risks and challenges might be for consumers who are already adopting these technologies or who will take advantage of the new digital services and opportunities as they start to enter the mainstream in the next few years.
This report identifies what these emerging detriments might be for consumers.
The aim of highlighting these detriments is to prompt debate and persuade those who are in a position to pre-empt and prevent these to begin to think about, understand and respond to these consumer detriment issues now. They also need to start to consider how best they can respond to the challenges these detriments will present to our traditional regulatory frameworks.
For background and links to associated blogs please see our Digital detriments page