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News Release

Will Christmas bring 'Product Rage'?

37 per cent of UK admit to getting angry with confusing product instructions
Released: 23rd October 2013
Publisher: Xerox

'Product rage’ is causing stress in households around the UK, according to new research from Xerox.

The YouGov survey* sampled over 2000 UK adults with one in ten admitting that inadequate guidelines led to arguments in their household and  more than 1 in 20 survey participants confessed to breaking their device after being irritated by the product’s instructions.

And more than a third (37 per cent) of consumers said confusing product instructions made them angry.

The term describes the frustration people feel when they aren’t able to understand instruction manuals, leading to household arguments and potential product breakage.

“We have all been guilty of being exasperated when we don’t entirely understand something. However, it is the companies’ responsibility to ensure their customers have a range of tools to completely understand their new product” said Julie Hesselgrove, Group President, Xerox Communication and Marketing Services (CMS).

“Having confusing instructions is like having a TV with a broken remote – yes you can still use the product, but it’s harder work, less enjoyable, you can’t use all the functionality, but you still paid full price.”

Comparing the sexes, women have higher expectations and less tolerance for confusing instructions than men. In fact 40 per cent of women got angry with perplexing product instructions, compared to 34 per cent of men.

Women were also twice as likely to admit to arguments with people they live with as a result. Conversely, a quarter of men would try to assemble or use items without referring to the instructions, compared to just a fifth of women.

In addition, one-third of consumers revealed they are less likely to buy products from a company if they know they have unclear instruction manuals. Consumers over 55 years of age are especially discriminating, with 46 per cent factoring the quality of product instructions into their purchase decision.

Despite this, 21 per cent still find instructions difficult to understand with the same percentage believing that they are not detailed enough.

This lack of adequate detail has led to a lack of understanding of the functionality of many common technology devices. 21 per cent replied that they didn’t fully understand how to use their mobile phones and 25 per cent don’t have a complete grasp of their personal computers.


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