Whether to adopt or not? A cross-country comparison of consumer resistance towards the Internet of Things in households


Vol 17 | Issue 2 pp. 30-51


The uptake of IoTs in households worldwide is lower than predicted and comparatively slower in developing countries than in developed countries due to inadequate digital infrastructure. This study aims to understand why the Internet of Things in households (specifically smart household appliances) have been resisted and have not been adopted to predicted levels by comparing Germany as a developed country to South Africa as a developing country. The specific focus was on innovation and consumer characteristics, perceived risk of adoption, and personality considerations, using a smart refrigerator. Through regression analysis of data generated from a quantitative survey of 1665 consumers from Germany and South Africa, it was found that both resistance and adoption are influenced by how intrusive the smart appliance is, how the consumer perceives its usefulness and whether it is considered novel or new. The perceived price of the smart appliance also played a role in adoption. Only South Africans’ perception of their capability to use a technologically innovative product influences their resistance to the smart appliance. Adoption is not the inverse of resistance when considering the constructs in their totality. Consumer innovativeness, influenced by uncertainty avoidance, played a significant role among the German and South African participants both resisting and adopting smart products. However, the cultural dimension of uncertainty avoidance also influenced consumer innovativeness. On the other hand, South Africans’ spirit of innovation influenced their resistance to and adoption of smart appliances more strongly than their German counterparts.

Keywords: Resistance; adoption; smart products; IoT; consumer characteristics, innovation characteristics, perceived risk, nostalgia, spirit of innovation

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