Instant gratification: the good, the bad and the role of technology

Tech is making us impatient. Apparently. But it also gives us more power as consumers. And that can only be a good thing.
By Team member, 03/08/2018
2 minutes read

Technology is making us impatient. Apparently.

Instant gratification is the desire for satisfaction without delay. In simple terms, you want it, and you want it now. And supposedly, it's on the rise.

Instant gratification isn't a new concept. But having access to the world at our fingertips is. Need a ride? Order an Uber and you'll be en route in minutes. Bored? Netflix offers instant access to hundreds of TV series so you can binge watch to your heart's content. Hungry? Deliveroo allows you to get restaurant food in your home without having to move from the sofa (if you make your partner get the door, that is).

As soon as you decide you want something, you can act on it using your phone 📱.

Good things come... on the same day?

Brands are improving their offerings to meet these new demands. Amazon now offer same-day delivery. Starbucks have in-app ordering so you can skip the line. Spotify offer a premium service without ads. Patience is a virtue, but in 2018, it seems that instant gratification is the money maker 💰.

So why is this a problem? The worry is that it's doing us no good, creating a society of impatient and demanding people who are just a slow wifi connection away from a meltdown. If we're always giving in to our immediate wants, surely we'll become less accepting of situations when we need to wait, and become more and more frustrated with anything that isn't instant.

Living in the age of tl;dr, some fear that our attention span is becoming as limited as Twitter's character count. And in the long-term, it could have a negative effect on everything from our ability to save money, to resilience in our career.

Power to the people

Although we can't be sure technology is to blame, the thing we can all agree on is that modern consumers are more demanding. But the idea of a spoilt society only stands if the demands are unreasonable. Is it too much to ask for quicker, simpler products 🤔?

Arguably, instant gratification can actually be a good thing: if consumers are more demanding, businesses have to make decisions with them in mind.

Take insurance for instance. Until Cuvva entered the car insurance market, very little had changed in a very long time. Insurance companies didn't offer hourly policies, and anyone in need of short-term insurance was made to jump through hoops to get it. Paperwork, phone calls and unnecessary delays caused inconvenience not only to the driver looking to get insured, but to the owner of the car.

This demand for consumer focused products and services paves the way for companies like Cuvva to make real changes in the insurance industry.

And as more companies offer products that actually meet people's needs, their competitors are forced to do the same. It means that the people who use the product are given the opportunity to shape it, instead of having to put up with what is already available.

A need for speed?

Sure, these days consumers won't hang around for you to get it right, but it's not just about being fast. Companies are on the hook to deliver products and services that really work for the user. This goes beyond speed and efficiency to other key parts of a business offering, like transparency and corporate responsibility.

Consumers don't just care about what they're buying, but want to know where their money is actually going. They want to know what the company stands for, and what kind of an impact they have on society. Companies need to think about the consequences of their actions, because consumers certainly are.

So, is technology making us impatient? Perhaps. But this so-called impatience is giving more power to consumers, and surely that's a good thing for all of us 🎉.

Team member