The corona crisis is creating more digital outsiders

November 11, 2020

Close to one in five (16 %) of Nordic residents does not have access to the technology they need, according to Elkjøp Nordic’s annual Tech Trouble survey, carried out by YouGov.

- For many people, technology is a barrier against inclusion in society, says Erik G. Sønsterud, CEO of Elkjøp Nordic.

Since the lockdown period in March, digitalisation has been gathering speed. But the Tech Trouble survey, carried out by Elkjøp on 4055 respondents across the Nordic countries, shows that not everyone is keeping up with the developments in technology.

A total of 16 % of the respondents answered that they are missing out on things because they do not have access to technology, and 22 % because they do not have the right digital skills. A total of 28 %replied that lack of access to technology and digital skills has created a class divide in modern society, and 36 per cent were concerned that more people will end up being excluded from society because technological developments are going faster and faster.

“The coronavirus has created a bigger gap between people. We have become more dependent on using technology to participate in society. And things have been even more difficult for those who had the least access to technology at the outset,” says Erik G. Sønsterud, CEO of Elkjøp Nordic.

He continues around how the pandemic has made him more aware of Elkjøp’s role in society.

-The coronavirus has given us an extra social responsibility. Overnight, our products went from being consumer electronics to critical infrastructure. And it became more important than ever for us to have a physical presence, so that our customers can still get the help they need in their local shops.

See the full results of the 2020 Tech Trouble survey here.

Trouble with technology amplifies economic differences

Lack of money is the most important cause of the technological class divide. Of those who say they are struggling to keep up with technological developments, 38 % said that the biggest challenge is because the products are too expensive.

- This creates a negative spiral, in which economic and technological gaps amplify each other. If you do not have access to a computer, it becomes more difficult to look for jobs or to apply for the support you may need. When you throw in the fact that low-threshold services like libraries have had to close because of the coronavirus, this leaves people with few alternatives, says Sønsterud.

Lack of technology also creates problems for people who have a job. A total of 23 % replied that they do not have all the equipment they need to be able to work or study from home.

Older people cannot keep up

Age is another reason why some people are not managing to keep up with technological developments. A total of 45 % said that they know older people who would have a better quality of life if they knew more about technology, while 29 % had someone in their family who could not use a smartphone or the Internet. A total of 35 % replied that they would have more contact with family members over the age of 75 if those people were more present in social media.

Among participants over the age of 60, 56 % thought that technical jargon is becoming more and more difficult, and 48 % would appreciate it if the shop where they bought electronics were to offer training.

- It is a paradox that even though technology is becoming easier to use, older people feel that it has become more difficult to keep up. This shows that we have a major challenge, both in terms of what kind of training we provide older people, and what jargon we use, said Sønsterud.

About the Tech Trouble survey

Annual survey performed by Elkjøp in Norway, Sweden, Denmark and Finland. The survey was carried out in the form of an online panel by the YouGov analysis institute between 6 and 22 May. They held a total of 4055 CAWI interviews with people over the age of 18, of which 1007 were in Norway.


Camilla Skjelsbæk Gramstad

Head of Sustainability

Kristian Willanger

Senior Communications Advisor, Elkjøp Nordic

Jan Christian Thommesen

Nordic Head of PR and Communications, Elkjøp Nordic