Reddit communities provide insight to new technologies
Our latest analysis of millions of conversations across hundreds of thousands of communities identifies the technology themes redditors are excited about next.
As previously announced, we’re bringing the best of Reddit to life at CES this year with our “Future Tellers” installation. The uniquely Reddit experience guides guests through an interactive house of clairvoyance and provides the opportunity to gaze into the future through the lens of our most forward-thinking communities.
We’re sharing here the research that underpins this experience—why are our communities uniquely equipped to see 10, 20, even 30 years into the future? Learn more and why as a marketer, you’ll want to factor in this highly valuable audience for your next campaign.
Part One: How and why redditors are bringing the future forward
The majority of redditors are “Early Adopters.”
Over half (53%) of redditors agree that they are “the first among their friends to buy a new gadget”—that’s a larger percentage than those on TikTok, YouTube and Twitter. 68% of redditors “like to stay up to date on new technologies and gadgets,” a higher percentage than users on YouTube (-24%), Instagram (-7%), TikTok (-8%), and Twitter (-5%).
But don’t just take their word for it. When we analyzed the past purchase behavior of people on Reddit vs these other platforms, they were on average quicker to purchase new technologies like lab grown meats, VR headsets, robot vacuums—and yes, almost 34% more likely than a TikTok user to have been an early cryptocurrency owner (20% more likely compared to the competitor average).
Reddit conversations today impact purchase decisions tomorrow
When asked “how likely are you to purchase [x] within the next year,” redditors were more likely to anticipate purchasing new technology than the competitor set. For example, in the year ahead, users on Reddit are 37% more likely to purchase home DNA or ancestry kits than users on YouTube, and 28% more likely to purchase a smart body weight scale than users on Twitter.
Among their planned purchases, redditors tend to over-index on self-optimization tech. For example, they’re 58% more likely to prioritize their spend on fitness & sleep wearables (28.6% of redditors) vs drones (18.1%). We see this also play out in our communities, where conversations about tracking and optimizing health are attracting members in fast growing subreddits like:
This distinction matters given the amount Reddit users are anticipating to spend. In the year ahead, redditors are 2x as likely to spend $3,000-$5,000 on emerging tech and gadgets (compared to the average competitor platform user). They are also 30% more likely than YouTube users and 20% more likely than Twitter users to spend over $5,000 in the year ahead.
Perhaps most interestingly, our research revealed that 60% of redditors say that they “are the person in their friend group that’s always the one recommending new products or services to others.” That’s the most likely out of the competitive set. When you consider that 70% of redditors “enjoy trying and recommending new technologies and gadgets” (again a higher percentage than competitors), you realize that redditors have an influence that extends beyond the platform. Rather than “early adopters,” a more apt term to describe redditors may be “early advocates.”
Part Two: The future of tech, according to Reddit
Many Reddit communities that were cutting edge of certain technologies over a decade ago now act as a home for the mainstream discussions happening today. But what emerging tech communities are likely to go mainstream in the future? Our “early advocates” gave us a good idea. Since redditors have an established record for adopting products before they’ve gone mainstream, we asked them to help us paint us a picture of what they think the future has in store. We mined Reddit conversations for the most talked about tech innovations, and then surveyed redditors to ask when they anticipated each innovation was likely to go mainstream.
The takeaway? The future is closer than it may seem. And controversial technologies like the metaverse, drones, and biometrics-driven tech are here to stay.
But wait, there’s more! Lightning round ⚡
Our research revealed so much more about what the future holds according to redditors, here are some additional fast facts:
Redditors believe insect proteins will be mainstream by 2025
Reddit users predict we'll see robots in the office before we see them in homes
Gen Z redditors are more excited for space tourism than other generations
Source: Reddit custom survey, U.S., New Tech Adoption, n=1000, A18-60, Aug 2022