Would more people invest in things like NFTs or Bitcoin if they didn’t find it so confusing? Do interviewees using buzzwords like “big data” and “hyper-automation” actually know what these terms mean? How many people are googling “what is the Metaverse?”. Technology is growing at lightning speed and new technologies are coming out all the time, but how easy are they to understand? Sure, you’ve heard the buzz around NFTs recently, but do you know what they are?
Our team at QAD wanted to know exactly how people feel about the tech world, so we conducted a survey to find out.
We surveyed 1,025 participants in March 2022. We asked average Americans about new technology such as NFTs, cryptocurrency, the Metaverse, and more to determine which is most confusing. We also analyzed Ahrefs search volume in order to determine which terms have been most searched and where.
New Technology: Knowing is Not Always Understanding
We hear so many buzzwords a day from other people, the radio, the news, or reading it on our phones through social media. Terms are getting thrown at us left and right, but how many of them do we actually understand? According to our survey respondents, the most common tech buzzwords are Bitcoin, crypto, Metaverse and NFT.
But when it comes to understanding those terms, there’s a big difference. While 98.9% of respondents have heard of Bitcoin, only 62% understand what it is. Out of the 81.3% of respondents who have heard of Metaverse, less than half (38.6%) understand what it is.
Web 3.0 holds the title of the least known and least understood phrase. Under a third of people (27.2%) have heard of the term and roughly 90% do not understand what it refers to. Web 3.0 refers to the third generation of the internet that uses advanced AI technology in order to enhance user experience by allowing people to find what they need even faster.
If all of this is going over your head, you’re not alone. Approximately one out of every five (20.9%) people understand none of the terms included in our research.
The Generational Difference
The Metaverse combines augmented and virtual reality techniques to virtually transport users to a digital world that mimics real life. But it’s more than a video game to pass the time. The Metaverse comes along with its own currency, in the form of NFTs, that can be bought, sold and exchanged for substantial value.
That’s important context for the 81.3% of Americans who are confused by the Metaverse and 84.7% who share this sentiment about NFTs.
So, when asked if they’d rather join the Metaverse or give up social media forever, there were some strong opinions. Millennials are the most likely to protest the Metaverse, with 63.3% saying they’d rather part ways with their Instagram and Snapchat accounts. The younger generation, Gen Z, falls on the opposite side of the spectrum being the only generation with over half of respondents saying they’d rather join the Metaverse.
Perhaps millennials are so against the Metaverse because they don’t understand it. Of this generation, 48.3% has spent several hours or more researching cryptocurrency and NFTs. Baby Boomers are the most uninterested generation, with 43.1% saying they have never researched the topic.
Life with New Technology
Not only is a portion of the public confused by cryptocurrency, people are also under the impression that others may be leading us to believe they’re more knowledgeable than they actually are in the area. Of the respondents, 22% believe that the crypto investors in their own lives don’t actually know what they’re talking about.
Similarly, two in every five people have faked understanding a technical term or buzzword at least once. Gen Z is the most likely to share this sentiment, with over half (51.4%) admitting they have. Just 29.8% of Baby Boomers have done the same.
Despite the confusion around the subject, people still have strong feelings about cryptocurrency and NFTs. In fact, a third of people say they would “absolutely not” date someone obsessed with cryptocurrency or NFTs. Women are approximately 10% more likely to consider it a dealbreaker than men.
Which Technology Buzzwords Are Googled Most?
For the next portion of our analysis, we turned to Ahrefs, a tool that collects data on search engine queries, in order to map out the worldwide popularity of various tech terms over time.
Ethereum was the first term to make a substantial spike around June of 2017, likely due to the price crash of $319 to 10 cents due to multimillion dollar trade. Search interest in the open-source blockchain stayed relatively stable over the rest of the timeline.
In December of 2017, the next big jump in popularity belonged to cryptocurrency and blockchain, each leaping above the 100,000 monthly search volume threshold. 2017 was a historic year for Bitcoin, so it’s no surprise that search volume reflects this.
It isn’t again until early 2021 when we say another significant increase in search volume for any of these terms. However, between January and May of 2021, around the r/WallStreetBets era, many terms (including dogecoin, NFTs, cryptocurrency, and more) saw a major influx in interest. Dogecoin increased in popularity by roughly 42x from December 2020 to May 2021.
Since then, NFTs have been the clear leader of the pack with more than three times the search interest of the next leading term, Metaverse.
New Technology Confusion Around the World
While our survey focused on American respondents, the U.S. is not the only country affected by this new wave. In fact, around the world people are searching for these same terms to try to understand or get a piece of the action.
Along with the rest of the world, residents of the UK, Canada, and France are most commonly looking for answers on Bitcoin and NFTs. These two terms share the title of the first and second most popular searches in each country, respectively.
Interestingly, there are some standout terms in certain countries. For example, India leads the globe in data mining interest. India is responsible for over a quarter of the world’s searches around data mining.
To wrap up, we won’t judge you if you still don’t fully understand what cryptocurrency or the Metaverse is. Clearly, you’re not alone. Despite the major surge in popularity of these tech topics, there’s an equivalent increase in confusion surrounding these complex topics.
Similar to NFTs and Bitcoin, the average person may not know what ERP software is. Unlike the never ending web of tech jargon, QAD makes things like digital manufacturing and supplier relationship management seamless. Learn more about our solutions and services and how they can improve your business!