The COVID pandemic accelerated emerging trends in technology and connectivity and further blurred the already murky lines between consumers’ virtual and physical worlds. Now, consumers use connected devices for virtual work, learning, fitness, health care, shopping, socializing, and entertainment.
And the connectivity is only increasing. According to Deloitte’s 2022 Connectivity and Mobile Trends study, seven in 10 respondents shop and pay with their smartphones. Over the past year, 15% of consumers upgraded their home internet services to achieve higher speeds, with 44% purchasing “signal boosters” like Wi-Fi extenders and mesh network equipment to increase coverage throughout the house.
Most respondents (87%) reported that their new equipment improved Wi-Fi performance. Meanwhile, only 8% said they switched home internet service providers in the past year.
“Consumers are gaining mastery over their digital lives, optimizing the devices they use, and finetuning the balance between their virtual and physical worlds,” Deloitte’s report said. “They’re being intentional about which activities to do virtually and which in person. They’re reporting that virtual work, school, fitness, and health care—in the right measure—are making their lives better, healthier, and more fulfilling.
With more consumers using their smartphones as their “universal remote” and most using their phones to buy and spend, the connected consumer is quickly becoming one of the big megatrends in the investment landscape. Investors that want to take advantage of this megatrend may want to consider the Neuberger Berman Connected Consumer ETF (NYSE Arca: NBCC).
NBCC seeks to invest in companies that could benefit from Generations Y and Z being the dominant consumers. This includes companies that demonstrate significant growth potential from connectivity-based consumerism.
The fund spans a broad range of industries globally and may invest in companies of any market cap. The team will evaluate the web search and spending tendencies of millions of consumers and the daily call transcripts and filings of over 4,000 public companies to identify the best opportunities for mass adoption in the digital age.
“I think the world realizes that there will be some changes as it relates to consumer habits, not only what they buy but how they buy,” said Neuberger Berman ETF Specialist Fred Edwards.
NBCC is one of three actively managed ETFs that Neuberger Berman launched in April. The ETFs are an extension of the firm’s thematic equity investment capabilities using traditional fundamental equity research along with alternative data capabilities and consideration of material environmental, social, and governance factors.
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