New research by Parks Associates (www.parksassociates.com) shows that more than one-fifth of U.S. broadband households have a technical support subscription.
According to the research group, Best Buy is currently the leading provider of technical support subscriptions for many connected devices, including desktops, laptops, and tablets. However, the firm notes that Amazon’s recent decision to offer an in-home tech support service is a notable threat to Best Buy’s market dominance.
“The market for support subscriptions is fragmented, with no single player having more than one-third of support subscribers for any device,” said Patrice Samuels, senior analyst, Parks Associates. “Best Buy has its strongest lead in the support subscription market for flat-panel TVs, with 29% of this market. Among laptop owners with a support subscription, 22% these subscribers chose Best Buy over similar services offered by Dell, HP, AT&T, Norton, and Verizon.”
Parks Associates says that Amazon’s entrance will provide a range of premium smart home device support services to the company’s large customer base. The firm also notes that Amazon’s decision is likely influencing the increasing incidence of retailer-provided support and the growing use of one-time fees for support payments, since Amazon charges one-time fees for its services. Two new support providers to the smart home market – Amazon Home Services and HelloTech – both offer one-time transaction fees as payment for services rendered.
“With Amazon entering the premium technical support space, competing providers must determine how they can establish a competitive advantage,” Samuels said. “Brands need to continually research their consumers to stay abreast of the challenges encountered and how they can best address consumer support needs.”
Additional research from the Parks Associates shows:
° A reliance on retailers for professional smart home support has increased 50% since 2015.
° More consumers contact the device manufacturer for help with resolving technical problems than any other support provider type.
° The percentage of consumers who report a preference for setting up their devices themselves increased from 33% in 2015 to 49% in 2017.