CONSUMER CATCH-UP: Subaru Forester recalled for electrical issue, consumer data collection causes mistrust in users, and consumer tech spending hits $1.69 trillion

ByMichael Finney and Simone Chavoor via KGO logo
Friday, October 11, 2019
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SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- Subaru Foresters recalled for airbag electrical system issue

Subaru is recalling 366,282 Forester SUVs with heated seats due to an electrical connection under the front seat cushion that may become loose. If the electrical harness for the occupant detection system (ODS) sensor becomes loose, it cannot detect if the seat is occupied and the airbag will deactivate.

The recall affects SUVs from model years 2015 through 2018.

Beginning Nov. 29, 2019, Subaru owners will be notified if their car has been affected by this recall, and will receive a second notice once new parts are available. Subaru dealers will also inspect vehicles and replace the ODS sensor free of charge, if necessary. To check if a vehicle has been recalled, consumers should enter the 17-digit vehicle identification number into the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration website.

Dominick Infante, Subaru of America Director of Communications, said he isn't aware of any injuries or incidents related to this problem.

Data collection scandals drive consumer mistrust

According to TechCrunch, only 3 percent of consumers trust marketing and advertising - the lowest of any industry - and it's the awareness of the mass collection of consumer data that is helping to drive that mistrust.

Jascha Kaykas-Wolff, CMO of Mozilla, which makes the open-source web browser Firefox, told TechCrunch that the tech industry's strategy of collecting as much data as possible on consumers is backfiring, pointing to recent controversies regarding smart speakers accused of eavesdropping on customers.

TechCrunch also noted that the rate of consumer trust is falling fastest with Millennials, calling it an "ominous sign" for the future of tech marketing.

Kaykas-Wolff argues that companies adopting a "lean data" strategy where only necessary information is collected can be beneficial to their bottom lines. A 2018 study found that the top 10 "most trustworthy" companies on the S&P 500 outperform the market by 25 to 50 percent.

Consumer tech spending hits $1.69 trillion in 2019

New research shows that consumer spending on tech goods will reach $1.69 trillion this year -- and $2.06 trillion by the year 2023.

The International Data Corporation (IDC) released their latest "Worldwide Semiannual Connected Consumer Spending Guide" on Friday. The IDC found that that three-quarters of consumer spending is on "traditional" technologies, like mobile phones and computers. However, consumers are starting to spend more on "emerging" technologies, such as virtual reality devices, drones, and smart home devices; the IDC predicts that by 2023, these technologies will account for a third of all consumer spending.

Take a look at more stories and videos by Michael Finney and 7 On Your Side.

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