UK consumers like vodka, they may be in denial over Brexit and most have never used Airbnb or ever plan to do so. Stop, the survey threw up some interesting results, but in one respect at least, and regarding disruptive technology, it illustrates why surveys can mislead.
Doctor Who and iPhones: they illustrate the problem, but first here are some details about the survey.
It was conducted by HSBC.
Half of all respondents were worried about rising costs. Oddly, they are unfazed by current economic uncertainty. HSBC said that "Our respondents don’t seem to be making the link between cost inflation and Brexit as yet. Any potential fall in real incomes or higher unemployment could, therefore, mean lower spending on holidays, eating out and entertainment, according to our survey. "
The survey also found that 48 per cent of homeowners expect house prices to rise in 2017, that there is no sign of a rise in staycation this year, despite a weak pound, only 15.5 per cent of respondents are worried about job security, only two per cent of people will pay over £5 for home delivery from a supermarket, and Vodka is the nation's favourite spirit.
But it's when we get to Airbnb that the survey gets interesting. It found that 62 per cent of people are averse to using Airbnb.
So, does that mean it is curtains for Airbnb?
Answer: absolutely not.
For one thing, if 62 per cent say they are adverse to using it, that means 32 per cent are not adverse and that is still quite high.
But there is a wider point. When it comes to disruptive technology or adopting new ideas, surveys are often not much use.
Take the iPhone. Before it was released, consumer attitudes to a touch screen phone were very negative. But that was because at that point consumers did not understand what applications touch screen smart phones could offer, or indeed how good these products could become.
Doctor Who is hardly an example of disruptive tech, or indeed of a new product. But it does illustrate the point. The return of this show 12 years or ago brought the BBC huge global success, yet before its return, research indicated there was little public demand for it.
As Marketing Week once said: “When the revival of Doctor Who is launched, despite the negative response from viewers questioned in research, we get important evidence that people aren’t the best judges of their own future tastes.”
So maybe we should not be writing Airbnb’s obituary yet.