The Point: A rising interest in personalization is changing how people shop for tech. Because for today’s consumers, devices aren’t just functional. They’re a form of self-expression.

There weren’t many choices to make when we bought our first cell phones. Make, model, storage size—and that was pretty much it. Everyone’s phones more or less looked the same. And in some ways, that was part of the appeal. Having the same device as your friends was like a status symbol, or a way to fit in.

These days, it’s a lot more complicated. Devices still serve as status symbols, but today’s consumers don’t just want the same experience as everyone else. They want their technology to reflect who they truly are.

A Black woman with short white hair in a Brown trenchcoat and wireless headphones
Closeup on the inside of a yellow flower
Rippled browns desert sands

Their devices, their way

This growing demand for personalization affects the whole path to purchase. So let’s start where your customers do: product research.

In a study with technology shoppers, we found that 50% choose devices to match their style or personality (60% among Pinner tech shoppers).1 Price and functionality still come first. But once shoppers check those basic boxes, they start vetting products against more personal criteria like style and lifestyle.

The more they can envision a specific device in their lives, the better. They’re looking at details like color palettes, form factor and aesthetics. They might also consider potential accessories, like cases or charms. And they’ll start considering how the device can support their hobbies through add-ons or apps.

Decor goes digital

Today’s consumers are designing their digital spaces with the same intention as their homes. We’re seeing huge growth in what we call “digital decor”: custom icons, lockscreens, playlist covers and more. People are looking for ways to express their creativity and style through curated aesthetics and customized user experiences.

Interest in digital decor climbed throughout 2020, getting an extra boost from the iOS 14 launch in September. This topic is growing so fast, we even named it a top trend for 2021.

Indexed searches for digital decor from January 2020 to November 20202

Line graph of indexed searches for digital decor from January 2020 to November 2020 against a red background

Set up for success

Searches for computer and gaming setups grew nearly 3x between November 2019 and November 2020.2 Early into COVID, people were looking for stopgap solutions. Now that they’re staying home longer, they’re looking for permanent setups that fit both their budget, and their decor.

Indexed searches for computer and gaming setups from January 2020 to November 20202

Line graph of indexed searches for computer and gaming setups from January 2020 to November 2020 against a red background

Work-from-homers need flexibility and comfort—whether they’re in a sprawling home office, or working out of a closet. That makes ergonomics, device compatibility and space efficiency more important than ever.

For gaming, people want equal parts specs and aesthetics. First, they have to get the equipment right: mics, monitors and so on. But they’re also looking up more stylish elements, trying to create just the right mood. That means queries like “custom gaming desks,” “RGB lights” and “vibey lights.”3

Large vibey leaves in purple and blue
Keyboard that lights up with rainbow colors

Reach tech shoppers early on Pinterest

Tech is a growing category on Pinterest, with searches for “electronics” up 70% year over year.4 It’s where people go to discover new products and dream up their perfect tech setup. It’s also where early adopters start planning their next purchase: we’ve even identified 75 million tech early adopters that you can reach through the Pinterest Ads Manager.5

Act on the insights

Whether you’re a device manufacturer or an app marketer, try to keep personalization top of mind as you plan for 2021. Here are some tips to get you started:

1.
Offer a range of sizes, colors and configurations.


Think about the different ways that people incorporate devices into their homes and routines. You can even include tools on your site to help people configure the perfect option.

2.
Show people how your devices can fit their style.

As you develop campaigns and ad creative, think about showing devices in different kinds of decor, or supporting different kinds of hobbies.

3.
Make it easy to customize the user experience.


Think about how people will interact with your app or your screens. You can even offer different presets for specific aesthetics or interests to help people out.

Written by

ASHISH ARYA AND ERIC ALESSI

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ART HISTORY AND APARTMENT INSPIRATION

Footnotes
1

LRW for Pinterest, study with tech and telco purchasers, US, June 2019

2

Pinterest, internal search data, US, Nov 2019 compared to Nov 2020

3

Pinterest, internal search data, US, 2020

4

Pinterest, internal search data, US, Sep 2019-Oct 2020

5

Oracle Data Cloud and Pinterest, audience data, US, Nov 2020. Early tech adopters are estimated by matching Oracle Data Cloud and Pinterest custom audiences, including purchasers of the latest technology such as smart home devices, smart TVs, new consoles and games, computers, software, wearable tech and premium smartphones.