iLife Shows Our Evolving Relationship With Technology

Havas’ latest Prosumer Report* entitled ‘iLife’ quotes 69% of South Africans as believing that increased dependence on technology is weakening human bonds. 51% are however hopeful that Artificial Intelligence (AI) will be good for society. Tensions such as this are endemic in people’s evolving relationship with technology, and iLife delves into some of the nuts of bolts.

Speaking on the report, Lynn Madeley, CEO of Havas Southern Africa said, “In iLife, we fill the gap that resides between our excitement at cutting-edge technological advances and the usually exaggerated imagination of apocalyptic robotic domination depicted in entertainment. We zero in on the granular elements that reside between those two extremes and analyse how people interrogate and continue to ingrain technology into their lives.”

“There is an overwhelming presence of technology: 94% of South African Prosumers** have their smartphones within reach except when charging, and 66% check their smartphones when they wake up at night. With such proximity to smart devices, privacy and security are a critical concern. While people want convenience, they’re not always willing to receive it in exchange for relaxing their privacy settings,” continued Madeley.


Highlights from the report include:

  1. Behold the fakery?

Gen Z are prone to having more than one profile on various social platforms: one ‘fake’ one for specific audiences, with specific content; and one ‘real’ one for family and close friends. The attention given to online presence in this manner accords their online existence as much, if not more value than their ‘real’ life.

  1. Less selfie-obsessed, more cause-driven engagement

Social media has become the platform for championing causes, with real life impact. This is exemplified in movements like #FeesMustFall, enabling activists to connect, garner support and organize across different campuses. Globally, 70% of Prosumers use social media to support the causes they care about, in India, that number is 85% and in South Africa, 61%.

  1. People live in bubbles. Perhaps let’s connect them?

Could brands build the bridges that connect the bubbles people live in? Because, while the Internet convenes people, it has led to insular bubbles which divide rather than unify. Globally, 50% believe that social media is a divisive force and in South Africa, that number is 44%.

  1. People want fewer apps

46% of South Africans believe they have all the apps they need on their smartphones. The app race is slowing down and compound applications like WeChat will soon be the go-to for new app developments. Brands need to stop developing apps for the sake of it.

So what are the implications for brands and businesses?
Madeley concludes, “From this report, the following areas of opportunity are apparent for brands to consider for more impactful engagement:

  • Firstly, how do they afford people a more humane touch at a time where humanity seems to be competing with bits and bytes?
  • How do they curate more offline experiences to encourage personable engagement?
  • How do they learning to only be available when needed
  • How do they collect the data they need while respecting people’s privacy?”

“iLife” draws on findings from a survey of 11,976 people aged 18+ in 37 markets. The survey was created by Havas Worldwide and fielded by Market Probe International.


*Prosumer Reports is a series of thought leadership publications by Havas—part of a global initiative to share information and insights, across the Havas network of agencies and client companies.
**Prosumers are today’s leading influencers and market drivers. They influence the brand choices and consumption behaviours of others; what Prosumers are doing today, mainstream consumers will likely be doing 6 to 18 months from now.

For more information or to download the report, please visit