Dear Santa, can you get an electric bike down my chimney?

Dear Santa, can you get an electric bike down my chimney?
Michael Björn

Head of Research Agenda and Quality at Consumer & IndustryLab

Christmas is soon here! Time is running short, and I still haven’t done any gift shopping... Being a Swede, for me the obvious first place to look for gift ideas is the Swedish Retail Institute (HUI Research), who have been selecting the Christmas gift of the year since 1988. And this year, they have chosen... the electric bicycle.

But hold on! What were they thinking...? Wrap it up, put it under the Christmas tree or stuff it into a stocking? Not very likely! Park it outside the door and tell your spouse or child to take a test ride in the ice and snow? Hmmm...

In Ericsson ConsumerLab’s 10 Hot Consumer Trends 2018 study, we asked advanced internet users in 10 cities around the world, what they think is the next tech gadget that people will buy, and the electric bicycle only came in 9th place. Being early adopters, these respondents probably consider the electric bike to be commonplace already, and selected the autonomous car for the top spot instead. There’s another unlikely candidate as a stocking filler.

But there is still an important connection between that bicycle and that car: electricity. Autonomous cars don’t have to be electric, but in fact, a whopping 63 percent of users want electricity to power them.

The recent shift in attitude towards electricity and batteries is amazing. In our research, we have seen consumers complaining and worrying about their phone batteries dying on them for well over a decade. But now, more than 80 percent of them believe that in only five years, we will have long-lasting batteries that put an end to charging concerns.

With more and more devices becoming connected and using advanced computing power, I personally feel doubtful that this will happen, but I sincerely hope I am wrong.

Battery development is progressing at least, and hopefully these devices are becoming less likely to explode in the process.

One thing is certain: you will not be putting the world’s largest battery in a Christmas stocking this holiday season. The tech gadget that ranked second in our survey was the solar cell battery charger so maybe giving someone an electric-powered gift makes sense.

But giving someone a solar cell at the darkest time of year is probably as silly as giving someone a bike when it is too cold and icy to use one. So you might want to give a fuel cell mobile power bank instead that charges with only salt and water, or a battery-powered watch that needs no charging at all.

I won’t put an electric bike under the tree. But maybe I should make this Christmas the start of my family’s Charged Future – if I just can find enough energy for that last-minute shopping rush!

How about you?


Enjoy the full ConsumerLab trends report here and watch me being interviewed by Cheddar TVs Tim Stenovic and Kristen Scholer.

10 Hot Consumer Trends 2018 image


In case you missed it: Don’t forget to check out the podcast for our 10 Hot Consumer Trends for 2018 and beyond, with Pernilla Jonsson, Head of Ericsson ConsumerLab and Michael Björn, Head of Research at ConsumerLab.


ABOUT THE CONTRIBUTOR
Michael Björn
Michael Björn is Head of Research Agenda and Quality at Consumer & IndustryLab at Ericsson ConsumerLab and has a PhD in data modeling from the University of Tsukuba in Japan.
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